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Monthly Notices Of The Royal Astronomical Society


We present a uniform analysis of six examples of embedded wind shock (EWS) O star X-ray sources observed at high resolution with the Chandra grating spectrometers. By modelling both the hot plasma emission and the continuum absorption of the soft X-rays by the cool, partially ionized bulk of the wind we derive the temperature distribution of the shock-heated plasma and the wind mass-loss rate of each star. We find a similar temperature distribution for each star’s hot wind plasma, consistent with a power-law differential emission measure, dlogEMdlogT⁠, with a slope a little steeper than −2, up to temperatures of only about 107 K. The wind mass-loss rates, which are derived from the broadband X-ray absorption signatures in the spectra, are consistent with those found from other diagnostics. The most notable conclusion of this study is that wind absorption is a very important effect, especially at longer wavelengths. More than 90 per cent of the X-rays between 18 and 25 Å produced by shocks in the wind of ζ Pup are absorbed, for example. It appears that the empirical trend of X-ray hardness with spectral subtype among O stars is primarily an absorption effect.


radiative transfer, stars: early-type, stars: massive, stars: mass-loss, stars: winds, outflows, X-rays: stars


This article has been published in Monthly Notices Of The Royal Astronomical Society. © 2021 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.