Quantitative studies of the optical and UV spectra of Galactic early B supergiants*
I. Fundamental parameters
Department of Physics & Astronomy, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK e-mail: [scs;rkp]@star.ucl.ac.uk
2 SGT, Inc., Code 665.0, Nasa Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
3 Department of Physics & Astronomy, The Queen's University of Belfast, BT7, 1NN, Northern Ireland, UK e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 3 January 2008
Aims. We undertake an optical and ultraviolet spectroscopic analysis of a sample of 20 Galactic B0-B5 supergiants of luminosity classes Ia, Ib, Iab, and II. Fundamental stellar parameters are obtained from optical diagnostics and a critical comparison of the model predictions to observed UV spectral features is made.
Methods. Fundamental parameters (e.g., , , mass-loss rates and CNO abundances) are derived for individual stars using CMFGEN, a nLTE, line-blanketed model atmosphere code. The impact of these newly derived parameters on the Galactic B supergiant scale, mass discrepancy, and wind-momentum luminosity relation is examined.
Results. The B supergiant temperature scale derived here shows a reduction of about 1000-3000 K compared to previous results using unblanketed codes. Mass-loss rate estimates are in good agreement with predicted theoretical values, and all of the 20 B0-B5 supergiants analysed show evidence of CNO processing. A mass discrepancy still exists between spectroscopic and evolutionary masses, with the largest discrepancy occurring at ~ 5.4. The observed WLR values calculated for B0-B0.7 supergiants are higher than predicted values, whereas the reverse is true for B1-B5 supergiants. This means that the discrepancy between observed and theoretical values cannot be resolved by adopting clumped (i.e., lower) mass-loss rates as for O stars. The most surprising result is that, although CMFGEN succeeds in reproducing the optical stellar spectrum accurately, it fails to precisely reproduce key UV diagnostics, such as the and P Cygni profiles. This problem arises because the models are not ionised enough and fail to reproduce the full extent of the observed absorption trough of the P Cygni profiles.
Conclusions. Newly-derived fundamental parameters for early B supergiants are in good agreement with similar work in the field. The most significant discovery, however, is the failure of CMFGEN to predict the correct ionisation fraction for some ions. Such findings add further support to revising the current standard model of massive star winds, as our understanding of these winds is incomplete without a precise knowledge of the ionisation structure and distribution of clumping in the wind.
Key words: techniques: spectroscopic / stars: mass-loss / stars: supergiants / stars: abundances / stars: atmospheres / stars: fundamental parameters
© ESO, 2008