Radio observations of candidate magnetic O stars
Astronomical Institute “Anton Pannekoek”, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 ASTRON, 7991 PD, Dwingeloo, The Netherlands
Accepted: 24 May 2007
Context.Some O stars are suspected to have to have (weak) magnetic fields because of the observed cyclical variability in their UV wind-lines. However, direct detections of these magnetic fields using optical spectropolarimetry have proven to be very difficult.
Aims.Non-thermal radio emission in these objects would most likely be due to synchrotron radiation. As a magnetic field is required for the production of synchrotron radiation, this would be strong evidence for the presence of a magnetic field. Such non-thermal emission has already been observed from the strongly magnetic Ap/Bp stars.
Methods.We have performed 6 and 21 cm observations using the WSRT and use these, in combination with archival VLA data at 3.6 cm and results from the literature, to study the radio emission of 5 selected candidate magnetic O stars.
Results.Out of our five targets, we have detected three: ξ Per, which shows a non-thermal radio spectrum, and α Cam and λ Cep, which show no evidence of a non-thermal spectrum. In general we find that the observed free-free (thermal) flux of the stellar wind is lower than expected. This is in agreement with recent findings that the mass-loss rates from O stars as derived from the Hα line are overestimated because of clumping in the inner part of the stellar wind.
Key words: stars: magnetic fields / stars: early-type / stars: general / stars: mass-loss / radio continuum: stars / radiation mechanisms: non-thermal
© ESO, 2007