EDP Sciences
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Volume 417, Number 1, April I 2004
Page(s) 217 - 234
Section Stellar structure and evolution
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20034325

A&A 417, 217-234 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20034325

Understanding B-type supergiants in the low metallicity environment of the SMC

C. Trundle1, 2, D. J. Lennon1, J. Puls3 and P. L. Dufton2

1  The Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes, Apartado de Correos 321, 38700, Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain
2  The Department of Pure and Applied Physics, The Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland
3  Universitäts-Sternwarte München, Scheinstr. 1, 81679, Germany

(Received 16 September 2003 / Accepted 5 December 2003 )

Spectroscopic analyses of 7 SMC B-type supergiants and 1 giant have been undertaken using high resolution optical data obtained on the VLT with UVES . FASTWIND, a non-LTE, spherical, line-blanketed model atmosphere code was used to derive atmospheric and wind parameters of these stars as well as their absolute abundances. Mass-loss rates, derived from H $_{\alpha}$ profiles, are in poor agreement with metallicity dependent theoretical predictions. Indeed the wind-momenta of the SMC stars appear to be in good agreement with the wind-momentum luminosity relationship (WLR) of Galactic B-type stars, a puzzling result given that line-driven wind theory predicts a metallicity dependence. However the galactic stars were analysed using unblanketed model atmospheres which may mask any dependence on metallicity. A mean nitrogen enhancement of a factor of 14 is observed in the supergiants whilst only an enrichment of a factor of 4 is present in the giant, AV216. Similar excesses in nitrogen are observed in O-type dwarfs and supergiants in the same mass range, suggesting that the additional nitrogen is produced while the stars are still on the main-sequence. These nitrogen enrichments can be reproduced by current stellar evolution models, which include rotationally induced mixing, only if large initial rotational velocities of 300 km s -1 are invoked. Such large rotational velocities appear to be inconsistent with observed $v \sin i$ distributions for O-type stars and B-type supergiants. Hence it is suggested that the currently available stellar evolution models require more efficient mixing for lower rotational velocities.

Key words: stars: atmospheres -- stars: early-type -- stars: supergiants -- stars: mass-loss -- stars: abundances -- stars: evolution

Offprint request: C. Trundle, ct@ing.iac.es

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