Journal Article

High-dispersion spectroscopy of two A supergiant systems in the Small Magellanic Cloud with novel properties

R. E. Mennickent and M. A. Smith

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 407, issue 2, pages 734-748
Published in print September 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online September 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
High-dispersion spectroscopy of two A supergiant systems in the Small Magellanic Cloud with novel properties

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We present the results of a spectroscopic investigation of two novel variable bright blue stars in the SMC, OGLE004336.91-732637.7 (SMC-SC3) and the periodically occulted star OGLE004633.76-731204.3 (SMC-SC4), whose photometric properties were reported by Mennickent et al. (2010). High-resolution spectra in the optical and far-UV show that both objects are actually A + B type binaries. Three spectra of SMC-SC4 show radial velocity variations, consistent with the photometric period of 184.26 d found in Mennickent et al. 2010. The optical spectra of the metallic lines in both systems show combined absorption and emission components that imply that they are formed in a flattened envelope. A comparison of the radial velocity variations in SMC-SC4 and the separation of the V and R emission components in the Hα emission profile indicate that this envelope, and probably also the envelope around SMC-SC3, is a circumbinary disc with a characteristic orbital radius some three times the radius of the binary system. The optical spectra of SMC-SC3 and SMC-SC4 show, respectively, He i emission lines and discrete blue absorption components (BACs) in metallic lines. The high excitations of the He i lines in the SMC-SC3 spectrum and the complicated variations of Fe ii emission and absorption components with orbital phase in the spectrum of SMC-SC4 suggests that shocks occur between the winds and various static regions of the stars' corotating binary-disc complexes. We suggest that BACs arise from wind shocks from the A star impacting the circumbinary disc and a stream of former wind-efflux from the B star accreting on to the A star. The latter picture is broadly similar to mass transfer occurring in the more evolved (but less massive) algol (B/A + K) systems, except that we envision transfer occurring in the other direction and not through the inner Lagrangian point. Accordingly, we dub these objects prototype of a small group of Magellanic Cloud wind-interacting A + B binaries.

Keywords: stars: early-type; stars: evolution; stars: mass-loss; stars: winds, outflows

Journal Article.  13031 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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