Volume 580, August 2015
|Number of page(s)||16|
|Published online||31 July 2015|
Simultaneous X-ray and optical spectroscopy of the Oef supergiant λ Cephei⋆
1 Groupe d’Astrophysique des Hautes Énergies, Institut d’Astrophysique et de Géophysique, Université de Liège, Quartier Agora, Allée du 6 Août, 19c, Bât. B5c, 4000 Liège Belgium,
2 LUPM, Université de Montpellier 2, CNRS, Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier, France
3 Hamburger Sternwarte, Universität Hamburg, Gojenbergsweg 112, 21029 Hamburg, Germany
4 Departamento de Astronomía, Universidad de Guanajuato, Apartado 144, 36000 Guanajuato, GTO, Mexico
Received: 9 March 2015
Accepted: 28 May 2015
Context. Probing the structures of stellar winds is of prime importance for the understanding of massive stars. Based on their optical spectral morphology and variability, it has been suggested that the stars in the Oef class feature large-scale structures in their wind.
Aims. High-resolution X-ray spectroscopy and time-series of X-ray observations of presumably single O-type stars can help us understand the physics of their stellar winds.
Methods. We have collected XMM-Newton observations and coordinated optical spectroscopy of the O6 Ief star λ Cep to study its X-ray and optical variability and to analyse its high-resolution X-ray spectrum. We investigate the line profile variability of the He ii λ 4686 and Hα emission lines in our time series of optical spectra, including a search for periodicities. We further discuss the variability of the broadband X-ray flux and analyse the high-resolution spectrum of λ Cep using line-by-line fits as well as a code designed to fit the full high-resolution X-ray spectrum consistently.
Results. During our observing campaign, the He ii λ 4686 line varies on a timescale of ~18 h. On the contrary, the Hα line profile displays a modulation on a timescale of 4.1 days which is likely the rotation period of the star. The X-ray flux varies on timescales of days and could in fact be modulated by the same 4.1-day period as Hα, although both variations are shifted in phase. The high-resolution X-ray spectrum reveals broad and skewed emission lines as expected for the X-ray emission from a distribution of wind-embedded shocks. Most of the X-ray emission arises within less than 2 R∗ above the photosphere.
Conclusions. The properties of the X-ray emission of λ Cep generally agree with the expectations of the wind-embedded shock model. There is mounting evidence for the existence of large-scale structures that modulate the Hα line and about 10% of the X-ray emission of λ Cep.
Key words: stars: early-type / stars: massive / stars: individual: λCep / X-rays: stars
Based on observations collected with XMM-Newton, an ESA science mission with instruments and contributions directly funded by ESA member states and the USA (NASA), and with the TIGRE telescope (La Luz, Mexico) and the 1.5 m telescope at Observatoire de Haute Provence (France).
© ESO, 2015
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