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Astrophysical Journal Letters


We have studied superionization and X-ray line formation in the spectra of zeta Pup using our new stellar atmosphere code (XCMFGEN) that can be used to simultaneously analyze optical, UV, and X-ray observations. Here, we present results on the formation of the O VI lambda lambda 1032, 1038 doublet. Our simulations, supported by simple theoretical calculations, show that clumped wind models that assume void in the interclump space cannot reproduce the observed O vi profiles. However, enough O vi can be produced if the voids are filled by a low-density gas. The recombination of O vi is very efficient in the dense material, but in the tenuous interclump region an observable amount of O vi can be maintained. We also find that different UV resonance lines are sensitive to different density regimes in z Pup: C IV is almost exclusively formed within the densest regions, while the majority of O vi resides between clumps. N v is an intermediate case, with contributions from both the tenuous gas and clumps.


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