New constraints on the origin of the short-term cyclical variability of the Wolf-Rayet star WR 46.
HENAULT-BRUNET V., ST-LOUIS N., MARCHENKO S.V., POLLOCK A.M.T., CARPANO S. and TALAVERA A.
Abstract (from CDS):
The Wolf-Rayet star WR 46 is known to exhibit a very complex variability pattern on relatively short timescales of a few hours. Periodic but intermittent radial velocity shifts of optical lines as well as multiple photometric periods have been found in the past. Non-radial pulsations, rapid rotational modulation, or the presence of a putative low-mass companion have been proposed to explain the short-term behavior. In an effort to unveil its true nature, we observed WR 46 with the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) over several short-term variability cycles. We found significant variations on a timescale of ∼8 hr in the far-ultraviolet (FUV) continuum, in the blue edge of the absorption trough of the O VI λλ1032, 1038 doublet P Cygni profile and in the S VI λλ933, 944 P Cygni absorption profile. We complemented these observations with X-ray and UV light curves and an X-ray spectrum from archival X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission-Newton Space Telescope (XMM-Newton) data. The X-ray and UV light curves show variations on a timescale similar to the variability found in the FUV. We discuss our results in the context of the different scenarios suggested to explain the short-term variability of this object and reiterate that non-radial pulsations is the scenario most likely to occur.