Spectroscopy of SMC Wolf-Rayet stars suggests that wind clumping does not depend on ambient metallicity.
MARCHENKO S.V., FOELLMI C., MOFFAT A.F.J., MARTINS F., BOURET J.-C. and DEPAGNE E.
Abstract (from CDS):
The mass-loss rates of hot, massive, luminous stars are considered a decisive parameter in shaping the evolutionary tracks of such stars and influencing the interstellar medium on galactic scales. The small-scale structures (clumps) that are omnipresent in such winds may reduce empirical estimates of mass-loss rates by an evolutionarily significant factor of ≥3. So far, there has been no direct observational evidence that wind clumping may persist at the same level in environments with a low ambient metallicity, where the wind-driving opacity is reduced. Here we report the results of time-resolved spectroscopy of three presumably single Population I Wolf-Rayet stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud, where the ambient metallicity is ~(1)/(5) Z☉. We detect numerous small-scale emission peaks moving outward in the accelerating parts of the stellar winds. The general properties of the moving features, such as their velocity dispersions, emissivities, and average accelerations, closely match the corresponding characteristics of small-scale inhomogeneities in the winds of Galactic Wolf-Rayet stars.
Stars: Mass Loss - Stars: Winds, Outflows - Stars: Wolf-Rayet