Modelling the orbital modulation of ultraviolet resonance lines in high-mass X-ray binaries*
Astrophysics Group, School of Chemistry & Physics, Keele University, Staffordshire ST5 5BG, UK
2 Astronomical Institute, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Corresponding author: Jacco van Loon, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 8 June 2001
The stellar-wind structure in high-mass X-ray binaries (HMXBs) is investigated through modelling of their ultraviolet (UV) resonance lines. For the OB supergiants in two systems, Vela X-1 and 4U1700-37, high-resolution UV spectra are available; for Cyg X-1, SMC X-1, and LMC X-4 low-resolution spectra are used. In order to account for the non-monotonic velocity structure of the stellar wind, a modified version of the Sobolev Exact Integration (SEI) method by Lamers et al. ([CITE]) is applied. The orbital modulation of the UV resonance lines provides information on the size of the Strömgren zone surrounding the X-ray source. The amplitude of the observed orbital modulation (known as the Hatchett-McCray effect), however, also depends on the density- and velocity structure of the ambient wind. Model profiles are presented that illustrate the effect on the appearance of the HM effect by varying stellar-wind parameters. The q parameter of Hatchett & McCray ([CITE]), as well as other parameters describing the supergiant's wind structure, are derived for the 5 systems. The X-ray luminosity needed to create the observed size of the Strömgren zone is consistent with the observed X-ray flux. The derived wind parameters are compared to those determined in single OB supergiants of similar spectral type. Our models naturally explain the observed absence of the HM effect in 4U1700-37. The orbital modulation in Vela X-1 indicates that besides the Strömgren zone other structures are present in the stellar wind (such as a photo-ionization wake). The ratio of the wind velocity and the escape velocity is found to be lower in OB supergiants in HMXBs than in single OB supergiants of the same effective temperature.
Key words: line: profiles / binaries: close / circumstellar matter / stars: early-type / stars: mass-loss / ultraviolet: stars
© ESO, 2001