Spectroscopic and evolutionary analyses of the binary system AzV 14 outline paths toward the WR stage at low metallicity binaries

D. Pauli, L. M. Oskinova, W.-R. Hamann, D. M. Bowman, H. Todt, T. Shenar, A. A. C. Sander, C. Erba, V. M. A. Gomez-Gonzalez, C. Kehrig, J. Klencki, R. Kuiper, A. Mehner, S. E. de Mink, M. S. Oey, V. Ramachandran, A. Schootemeijer, S. Reyero Serantes, A. Wofford

The origin of the observed population of Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars in low-metallicity (low-Z) galaxies, such as the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), is not yet understood. Standard, single-star evolutionary models predict that WR stars should stem from very massive O-type star progenitors, but these are very rare. On the other hand, binary evolutionary models predict that WR stars could originate from primary stars in close binaries. We conduct an analysis of the massive O star, AzV 14, to spectroscopically determine its fundamental and stellar wind parameters, which are then used to investigate evolutionary paths from the O-type to the WR stage with stellar evolutionary models. Multi-epoch UV and optical spectra of AzV 14 are analyzed using the non-LTE stellar atmosphere code PoWR. An optical TESS light curve was extracted and analyzed using the PHOEBE code. The obtained parameters are put into an evolutionary context, using the MESA code. AzV 14 is a close binary system consisting of two similar main sequence stars with masses of 32 Msol. Both stars have weak stellar winds with mass-loss rates of log Mdot=-7.7. Binary evolutionary models can explain the empirically derived stellar and orbital parameters. The model predicts that the primary will evolve into a WR star with T = 100 kK, while the secondary, which will accrete significant amounts of mass during the first mass transfer phase, will become a cooler WR star with T = 50 kK and are predicted to have compared to other WR stars increased oxygen abundances. This model prediction is supported by a spectroscopic analysis of a WR star in the SMC. We hypothesize that the populations of WR stars in low-Z galaxies may have bimodal temperature distributions. Hotter WR stars might originate from primary stars, while cooler WR stars are the evolutionary descendants of the secondary stars if they accreted a significant amount of mass.

Preprint (pauli+2023-AzV14.pdf, 4.5MB)

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