New findings on the prototypical Of?p stars

Nazé, Y.; Ud-Doula, A.; Spano, M.; Rauw, G.; De Becker, M.; Walborn, N. R.
Astronomy and Astrophysics, Volume 520, id.A59, 10 pp.


Aims: In recent years several in-depth investigations of the three prototypical Of?p stars were undertaken. These multiwavelength studies revealed the peculiar properties of these objects (in the X-rays as well as in the optical): magnetic fields, periodic line profile variations, recurrent photometric changes. However, many questions remain unsolved.
Methods: To clarify some of the properties of the Of?p stars, we have continued their monitoring. A new xmm-Newton observation and two new optical datasets were obtained.
Results: Additional information about the prototypical Of?p trio has been found. HD 108 has now reached its quiescent, minimum-emission state for the first time in 50-60 yr. The échelle spectra of HD 148937 confirm the presence of the 7d variations in the Balmer lines and reveal similar periodic variations (though of lower amplitudes) in the He i λ 5876 and He ii λ 4686 lines, underlining its similarities with the other two prototypical Of?p stars. The new xmm-Newton observation of HD 191612 was taken at the same phase in the line modulation cycle, but at a different orbital phase from previous data. It clearly shows that the X-ray emission of HD 191612 is modulated by the 538d period and not by the orbital period of 1542d - it is thus not of colliding-wind origin. The phenomenon responsible for the optical changes appears also at work in the high-energy domain. There are problems however: our MHD simulations of the wind magnetic confinement predict both a harder X-ray flux of a much larger strength than what is observed (the modelled differential emission measure peaks at 30-40 MK, whereas the observed one peaks at 2 MK) and narrow lines (hot gas moving with velocities of 100-200 km s-1, whereas the observed full width at half maximum is ~2000 km s-1).

Based on observations collected at the Haute-Provence Observatory, at the La Silla and San Pedro Mártir Observatories, and with XMM-Newton, an ESA Science Mission with instruments and contributions directly funded by ESA Member States and the USA (NASA).