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Astrophysical Journal


We fit X-ray emission line profiles in high resolution XMM-Newton and Chandra grating spectra of the early O supergiant zeta Pup with models that include the effects of porosity in the stellar wind. We explore the effects of porosity due to both spherical and flattened clumps. We find that porosity models with flattened clumps oriented parallel to the photosphere provide poor fits to observed line shapes. However, porosity models with isotropic clumps can provide acceptable fits to observed line shapes, but only if the porosity effect is moderate. We quantify the degeneracy between porosity effects from isotropic clumps and the mass-loss rate inferred from the X-ray line shapes, and we show that only modest increases in the mass-loss rate (less than or similar to 40%) are allowed if moderate porosity effects (h(infinity) less than or similar to R-*) are assumed to be important. Large porosity lengths, and thus strong porosity effects, are ruled out regardless of assumptions about clump shape. Thus, X-ray mass-loss rate estimates are relatively insensitive to both optically thin and optically thick clumping. This supports the use of X-ray spectroscopy as a mass-loss rate calibration for bright, nearby O stars.


This work is freely available courtesy of IOP Publishing and the American Astronomical Society.