Three-dimensional radiative transfer in clumped hot star winds
I. Influence of clumping on the resonance line formation
1 Astronomický ústav, Akademie věd České Republiky, 251 65 Ondřejov, Czech Republic
2 Matematicko fyzikální fakulta, Univerzita Karlova, Praha, Czech Republic
3 Matematički Institut SANU, Kneza Mihaila 36, 11001 Beograd, Republic of Serbia
4 Institut für Physik und Astronomie, Universität Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 24/25, 14476 Potsdam-Golm, Germany
Received: 5 December 2011
Accepted: 17 February 2012
Context. The true mass-loss rates from massive stars are important for many branches of astrophysics. For the correct modeling of the resonance lines, which are among the key diagnostics of stellar mass-loss, the stellar wind clumping has been found to be very important. To incorporate clumping into a radiative transfer calculation, three-dimensional (3D) models are required. Various properties of the clumps may have a strong impact on the resonance line formation and, therefore, on the determination of empirical mass-loss rates.
Aims. We incorporate the 3D nature of the stellar wind clumping into radiative transfer calculations and investigate how different model parameters influence the resonance line formation.
Methods. We develop a full 3D Monte Carlo radiative transfer code for inhomogeneous expanding stellar winds. The number density of clumps follows the mass conservation. For the first time, we use realistic 3D models that describe the dense as well as the tenuous wind components to model the formation of resonance lines in a clumped stellar wind. At the same time, we account for non-monotonic velocity fields.
Results. The 3D density and velocity wind inhomogeneities show that there is a very strong impact on the resonance line formation. The different parameters describing the clumping and the velocity field results in different line strengths and profiles. We present a set of representative models for various sets of model parameters and investigate how the resonance lines are affected. Our 3D models show that the line opacity is lower for a larger clump separation and shallower velocity gradients within the clumps.
Conclusions. Our model demonstrates that to obtain empirically correct mass-loss rates from the UV resonance lines, the wind clumping and its 3D nature must be taken into account.
Key words: stars: winds, outflows / stars: mass-loss / stars: early-type
© ESO, 2012