Understanding B-type supergiants in the low metallicity environment of the SMC

Carrie Trundle, D.J. Lennon, J. Puls, Philip Dufton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Spectroscopic analyses of 7 SMC B-type supergiants and 1 giant have been undertaken using high resolution optical data obtained on the VLT with UVES. FASTWIND, a non-LTE, spherical, line-blanketed model atmosphere code was used to derive atmospheric and wind parameters of these stars as well as their absolute abundances. Mass-loss rates, derived from H-alpha profiles, are in poor agreement with metallicity dependent theoretical predictions. Indeed the wind-momenta of the SMC stars appear to be in good agreement with the wind-momentum luminosity relationship (WLR) of Galactic B-type stars, a puzzling result given that line-driven wind theory predicts a metallicity dependence. However the galactic stars were analysed using unblanketed model atmospheres which may mask any dependence on metallicity. A mean nitrogen enhancement of a factor of 14 is observed in the supergiants whilst only an enrichment of a factor of 4 is present in the giant, AV216. Similar excesses in nitrogen are observed in O-type dwarfs and supergiants in the same mass range, suggesting that the additional nitrogen is produced while the stars are still on the main-sequence. These nitrogen enrichments can be reproduced by current stellar evolution models, which include rotationally induced mixing, only if large initial rotational velocities of 300 kin s(-1) are invoked. Such large rotational velocities appear to be inconsistent with observed v sin i distributions for O-type stars and B-type supergiants. Hence it is suggested that the currently available stellar evolution models require more efficient mixing for lower rotational velocities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-234
Number of pages18
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Volume417
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science

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