Metal abundances in hot white dwarfs with signatures of a superionized wind
1 Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Kepler Center for Astro and Particle Physics, Eberhard Karls University, Sand 1, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
2 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
Received: 8 August 2017
Accepted: 16 October 2017
About a dozen hot white dwarfs with effective temperatures Teff = 65 000−120 000 K exhibit unusual absorption features in their optical spectra. These objects were tentatively identified as Rydberg lines of ultra-high excited metals in ionization stages v–x, indicating line formation in a dense environment with temperatures near 106 K. Since some features show blueward extensions, it was argued that they stem from a superionized wind. A unique assignment of the lines to particular elements is not possible, although they probably stem from C, N, O, and Ne. To further investigate this phenomenon, we analyzed the ultraviolet spectra available from only three stars of this group; that is, two helium-rich white dwarfs, HE 0504–2408 and HS 0713+3958 with spectral type DO, and a hydrogen-rich white dwarf, HS 2115+1148 with spectral type DAO. We identified light metals (C, N, O, Si, P, and S) with generally subsolar abundances and heavy elements from the iron group (Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni) with solar or oversolar abundance. The abundance patterns are not unusual for hot WDs and can be interpreted as the result of gravitational settling and radiative levitation of elements. As to the origin of the ultra-high ionized metals lines, we discuss the possible presence of a multicomponent radiatively driven wind that is frictionally heated.
Key words: stars: abundances / stars: atmospheres / stars: evolution / stars: AGB and post-AGB / white dwarfs
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