Spectrum formation in clumpy stellar winds

W.-R. Hamann, L.M. Oskinova & A. Feldmeier

Universität Potsdam, Institut für Physik, Astrophysik

Modeling expanding atmospheres is a difficult task because of the extreme non-LTE situation, the need to account for complex model atoms, especially for the iron-group elements with their millions of lines, and because of the supersonic expansion. Adequate codes have been developed e.g. by Hillier (CMFGEN), the Munich group (Puls, Pauldrach), and in Potsdam (PoWR code, Hamann et al.). While early work was based on the assumption of a smooth and homogeneous spherical stellar wind, the need to account for clumping became obvious about ten years ago. A relatively simple first-order clumping correction was readily implemented into the model codes. However, its simplifying assumptions are severe. Most importantly, the clumps are taken to be optically thin at all frequencies ("microclumping"). We discuss the consequences of this approximation and describe an approach to account for optically thick clumps ("macroclumping"). First results demonstrate that macroclumping can generally reduce the strength of spectral features, depending on their optical thickness. The recently reported discrepancy between the Hf diagnostic and the P V resonance lines in O star spectra can be resolved without decreasing the mass-loss rates, when macroclumping is taken into account.

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