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Monthly Notices Of The Royal Astronomical Society


We present an analysis of both the resolved X-ray emission-line profiles and the broad-band X-ray spectrum of the O-2 If* star HD 93129A, measured with the Chandra High Energy Transmission Grating Spectrometer ( HETGS). This star is among the earliest and most massive stars in the Galaxy, and provides a test of the embedded wind-shock scenario in a very dense and powerful wind. A major new result is that continuum absorption by the dense wind is the primary cause of the hardness of the observed X-ray spectrum, while intrinsically hard emission from colliding wind shocks contributes less than 10 per cent of the X-ray flux. We find results consistent with the predictions of numerical simulations of the line-driving instability, including line broadening indicating an onset radius of X-ray emission of several tenths of R-*. Helium-like forbidden-to-intercombination line ratios are consistent with this onset radius, and inconsistent with being formed in a wind-collision interface with the star's closest visual companion at a distance of 100 au. The broad-band X-ray spectrum is fitted with a dominant emission temperature of just kT = 0.6 keV along with significant wind absorption. The broad-band wind absorption and the line profiles provide two independent measurements of the wind mass-loss rate:. M = 5.2(-1.5)(+1.8) x 10(-6) and 6.8(-2.2)(+2.8) x 10(-6) M-circle dot yr(-1), respectively. This is the first consistent modelling of the X-ray line-profile shapes and broad-band X-ray spectral energy distribution in a massive star, and represents a reduction of a factor of 3-4 compared to the standard H alpha mass-loss rate that assumes a smooth wind.


This work is freely available courtesy of the Royal Astronomical Society and Oxford University Press.