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X-ray emission from near-main-sequence B stars
Cassinelli, J. P.; Cohen, D. H.; Macfarlane, J. J.; Sanders, W. T.; Welsh, B. Y.
AA(University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, US), AB(University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, US), AC(University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, US), AD(University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, US), AE(University of California, Berkeley, CA, US)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 421, no. 2, p. 705-717 (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
NASA/STI Keywords:
B Stars, Cepheid Variables, Emission Spectra, Main Sequence Stars, Stellar Mass, X Ray Astronomy, X Ray Spectra, Astronomical Spectroscopy, Hydrogen, Interstellar Gas, O Stars, Rosat Mission, Shock Waves, Spaceborne Astronomy
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Results of a Roentgen Satellite (ROSAT) X-ray survey of 12 nearby near-main-sequence B stars are presented. Objects with very low interstellar hydrogen column density were chosen to study the soft X-ray emission properties of the stars. All of the stars were detected at the 3 sigma level. Spectral fits to seven of the stars are presented, and temperatures and source emission measures are derived. The spectra and characterized by emission from gas at a temperature of about 2 x 106 K, which is lower than that typically observed for O stars. The ratio Lx/LBol decreases sharply with spectral types later than B1, reaching values of about 10-9 at B3 V; much less than the value of 10-7 that holds for O stars and early-B stars. The survey includes four beta Cephei stars and two Be stars. Our observations are consistent with the finding that beta Cephei variables have softer spectra than other stars of the same spectral type. The X-ray emission measures for the stars are compared with upper and lower limits derived using mass loss rates and terminal velocities from line-driven wind theory. It is concluded that if shocks embedded in the winds are the source of the X-ray emission then a significant fraction of the winds in B stars must be hot. One to a few shocks can account for the observed emission measures. As a function of spectral type, there appears to be a transition in X-ray emission properties at about B1 to B1.5, with later type stars having a smaller Lx/LBol ratio. Coronal and shock models are discussed in regards to the BO V star tau Sco which has an anomalously high source temperature.

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