Journal Article

Photometric variability of WC9 stars

Rémi Fahed, Anthony F. J. Moffat and Alceste Z. Bonanos

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 392, issue 1, pages 376-382
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online December 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.14040.x
Photometric variability of WC9 stars

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Do some Wolf–Rayet stars owe their strong winds to something else besides radiation pressure? The answer to this question is still not entirely obvious, especially in certain Wolf–Rayet subclasses, mainly WN8 and WC9. Both of these types of Wolf–Rayet stars are thought to be highly variable, as suggested by observations, possibly due to pulsations. However, only the WN8 stars have so far been vigorously and systematically investigated for variability. We present here the results of a systematic survey during three consecutive weeks of 19 Galactic WC9 stars and one WC8 star for photometric variability in two optical bands, V and I. Of particular interest are the correlated variations in brightness and colour index in the context of carbon dust formation, which occurs frequently in WC9 and some WC8 stars. In the most variable case, WR76, we used this information to derive a typical dust grain size of ∼ 0.1 μm. However, most photometric variations occur at surprisingly low levels, and in fact almost half of our sample shows no significant variability at all above the instrumental level (σ∼ 0.005– 0.01 mag).

Keywords: stars: carbon; circumstellar matter; stars: individual: WR76; stars: variables: other; stars: Wolf–Rayet

Journal Article.  2830 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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