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The nucleus of the PN Lo4 is very hot and H-deficient and may be classified as a PG 1159 star (Werner 1992). Besides K 1–16, it is the second known pulsating central star. New spectra were taken between May 1991 and Febr. 1992. Within 18 days we witnessed a rapid decline of an emission line phase, which has begun less than 7 months ago. During this time Lo4 has changed its spectral type from PG 1159 to early WC (WC2 or WC3) and back to PG 1159. This phenomenon has never been observed before in hot post-AGB stars. The event is interpreted as an intrinsic phenomenon. Because of the short time scales, the variations are probably confined to the outermost stellar layers. It is known that the pulsation driving zones are close to the stellar surface and we speculate about a causal relation between enhanced mass-loss and possible variations in the pulsation behaviour. Spectral analysis was performed using NLTE model codes for spherically expanding atmospheres (Hamann et al. 1991) to analyze the WC-type spectrum and for plane-parallel static atmospheres (Werner 1992) to analyze the PG 1159 type spectrum. We find Teff=120kK and log g=5.5 during the PG 1159 phase. For the WC phase we obtain the same Teff and the mass-loss rate log (·/(M⊙/yr))=−7.3. The element abundances are typical for PG 1159 stars (He:C:O=46:43:ll, by mass) and v∞=:4000 km/s. More details can be found in Werner et al. (1992).
Stratified non-LTE models for expanding atmospheres have become available in the recent years. They are based on the idealized assumptions of spherical symmetry, stationarity and radiative equilibrium. The satisfactory agreement between calculated and observed Wolf-Rayet spectra suggests that this “standard model” is basically adequate for describing real WR atmospheres and hence can be applied for their quantitative spectral analyses. By the application of these models, the fundamental parameters have been determined meanwhile for the majority of the known Galactic WR stars. Most WN stars populate a vertical strip in the Hertzspung-Russell diagram at effective temperatures of ≈35 kK, the luminosities ranging from 104.5 to 105.9L⊙. Only three WN stars of earliest subtype, other early-type WN stars if they have strong lines, and the WC stars are hotter. The chemical compositions of the WR atmospheres correspond to nuclear-processed material (WN: hydrogen burning in the CNO cycle; WC: helium burning). Hydrogen is depleted but still detectable in the cooler members of the WN subclass. Quantitatively, the hydrogen abundances show an interesting correlation with the luminosity which can be compared with the predictions from evolutionary calculations.
Results from pointed ROSAT PSPC observations of nine single WN-type Wolf-Rayet stars are presented. Spectra of sufficient quality were obtained for two of them (WR1, WR110). The long exposure (35.5 ksec) X-ray spectrum of WR1 is more closely investigated with a semi-empirical model developed by Baum et al. (1992).
Models have been developed in Kiel for massive (Pop. I) WR stars which account for multi-level non-LTE radiation transfer in spherically expanding atmospheres. The published (Koesterke et al. 1992) grid of models for WC composition (40% helium, 60% carbon by mass) can be applied to low-mass stars as well by means of the scaling properties of WR spectra (Hamann et al. 1992) and allow a rough guess of the parameters, while individual calculations are necessary for a detailed analysis and the determination of the chemical composition.
A recently developed non-LTE code for realistic semi-empirical models of Wolf-Rayet atmospheres is used to calculate synthetic helium lines. From the resulting line strenghts it can be concluded that if He I lines are present, the effective temperatures of these stars have to be less than an upper limit. This limit depends on the stellar radius and is approximately 40kK for R* = 20 R⊙ to 60kK for R* = 5 R⊙.
In order to synthesize the eclipse light curve of V444 Cygni, we adopt the following model. The O star revolves round the WR star still within the outer regions of its extended atmosphere. The O star shadows a distinct volume of the WR atmosphere which thus cannot contribute to the total flux seen by the observer. On the other hand, additional radiation emerges from the surface of the O star. Its contribution to the total flux is more or less diminished by absorption when the rays pass through those parts of the WR atmosphere which lie between the O star and the observer. The WR atmosphere is given by our usual models (cf. Hamann and Schmutz, 1987; Wessolowski et al, 1988).
Wolf-Rayet stars represent an important stage in the evolution of massive stars, but are only poorly understood so far. For a better knowledge one might determine their effective temperatures, luminosities and atmospheric compositions. But the emission-line dominated Wolf-Rayet spectra were not accessible to a quantitative analysis for a long time, because “standard” model calculations for static, plane-parallel stellar atmospheres are not adequate to that type of stars.
Hitherto our quantitative analyses of WR spectra  have been based on pure-helium models . Now we further improved our non-LTE calculations by including a complex model atom of nitrogen (90 energy levels, 351 line transitions; with low-temperature dielectronic recombination) into our model atmospheres in order to synthesize adequately the spectra of WN subtypes (Wessolowski et al., in preparation). Together with the nitrogen (the most important “metal” in WN atmospheres), we introduced an improved temperature structure into our model calculations , now accounting for non-grey radiative equilibrium instead of the grey approximation applied so far. Moreover we took into account the line overlap of the considered elements (here: helium, nitrogen) and also their blanketing effects on the continuous radiation field.
Hydrogen abundances in WN stars have been derived by Conti et al. (1983) from a “semiquantitative” study of the Balmer-Pickering decrement. No clear correlation between hydrogen detection and spectral subtype could be established: stars with hydrogen and stars without detectable hydrogen are found among both, the WNE (“early”) as well as the WNL (”late”).
Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars are the most advanced stage in the evolution of the most massive stars. The strong feedback provided by these objects and their subsequent supernova (SN) explosions are decisive for a variety of astrophysical topics such as the cosmic matter cycle. Consequently, understanding the properties of WR stars and their evolution is indispensable. A crucial but still not well known quantity determining the evolution of WR stars is their mass-loss rate. Since the mass loss is predicted to increase with metallicity, the feedback provided by these objects and their spectral appearance are expected to be a function of the metal content of their host galaxy. This has severe implications for the role of massive stars in general and the exploration of low metallicity environments in particular. Hitherto, the metallicity dependence of WR star winds was not well studied. In this contribution, we review the results from our comprehensive spectral analyses of WR stars in environments of different metallicities, ranging from slightly super-solar to SMC-like metallicities. Based on these studies, we derived empirical relations for the dependence of the WN mass-loss rates on the metallicity and iron abundance, respectively.
LMC-N66 is an extraordinary planetary nebula whose central star underwent a violent mass loss event which has lasted for 10 years. The outburst reached its maximum in 1994. Since then the star has been slowly fading. During the stellar outburst, the nebular lines have shown no changes.
The nebula shows a complex morphology. Two very bright lobes at both sides of the central star, almost aligned in the E-W direction, constitute the main body of the nebula. Several knots and filaments are conspicuous over the surface lying preferentially on the S-E and N-W directions. A couple of faint, extended loops are also detected in the S-E and N-W directions at both sides of the star. The extension of these loops are larger than 0.5 pc at the LMC distance. A no emitting-zone in the S-W quadrant, seems to be part of a dusty toroid around the central star, although the central star is not obscured by such a dark material (see Blades et ale 1992 for a description of N66 morphology).
HST UV and optical spectra of the early-type [WC] star SMP 61 in the LMC are analyzed by means of line blanketed non-LTE models for expanding atmospheres. The known distance to the LMC allows a reliable determination of the stellar parameters. The low iron surface abundance of the object possibly indicates a preceding evolution through a very late thermal pulse (VLTP).
N66 (WS 35, SMP 83) is a Type I (He-N rich) PN in the LMC with a high ionization degree. It shows a bipolar morphology with a filamentary structure (Dopita et al. 1993). Its central star has shown very impressive changes, in short time scale, that have been investigated. Here we describe the history of these changes:
Wolf-Rayet (short: WR) stars are characterized by the bright and broad emission lines which dominate their spectra. This class was originally established for Pop. I stars, distinguishing a nitrogen (WN) and carbon (WC) sequence according to the dominating lines. Wolf-Rayet (specifically, WC) type spectra are also shown by a considerable fraction of central stars of planetary nebulae.
Among the Central Stars of Planetary Nebulae (CSPN) there are several stars which show Wolf-Rayet-type spectra resembling those of Pop. I Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars of the carbon sequence (WC). Due to progress in computer technology and new solution techniques it became possible ten years ago to calculate models which account for the very complex physical conditions in Wolf-Rayet atmospheres (Hillier 1989, Hamann et al. 1992). These models have been successfully applied to the vast majority of Pop. IWR stars in the Galaxy and the Magellanic Clouds (Hamann et al. 1995) and, in the last three years, to an increasing sample of CSPNs of [WC] type (Koesterke & Hamann 1996, Leuenhagen & Hamann 1996, Leuenhagen this meeting). Here we present the analyses of ten CSPNs of early [WC] type, i.e. from [WC 2] to [WC 4].
The helium spectrum of the WN5 star HD 50896 (EZ Canis Majoris, WR6) is studied. Our aim is to establish a technique which allows the determination of the parameters of a Wolf-Rayet star from a systematic analysis of its spectral lines. Since the method of “iteration with approximate Lambda operators” became available for application to expanding atmospheres (Hamann, 1986, 1987), we are now able to compare observed spectra to realistic model calculations (Hamann and Schmutz, 1987; Wessolowski et al., 1987).
We consider the non-LTE spectral formation in a spherically expanding atmosphere. The velocity field v(r) is specified in its supersonic part by the usual analytical law with the parameters v∞ (final velocity) and the exponent ß=1. The temperature structure is derived from the assumption of radiative equilibrium, but only approximately evaluated for the grey LTE case. The atmosphere is assumed to consist of pure helium. The model atom has a total of 28 energy levels, among these 17 levels of He I. The line radiation transfer is treated in the “comoving frame”.
A model atmosphere code that accounts for the special physical conditions in Wolf-Rayet atmospheres (Hamann and Schmutz, 1986; Wessolowski et al., 1987) is used to analyse the spectrum of the Wolf-Rayet star HD193077 (WN5+abs). The stellar parameters are determined such that the profiles of the helium lines He I λλ4471, 5876, He II λ5412, and the absolute visual magnitude are reproduced.
In order to estimate the systematic errors introduced by the model assumptions, we perform some test calculations. Instead of the velocity-law exponent of ß=1, another fit is obtained with ß=0.5 (Fig. 1). This fit yields an effective temperature of about 3000K higher than with ß=1. In order to simulate the effect of the suspected hydrogen content, a further fit (Fig. 2) is made when one free electron per helium atom is added artificially. This has only marginal influence on the derived temperature (+100K). Thus, we conclude that our model assumptions may introduce a systematic error of the order of 5000K.
The LMC star R84 (-HDE 269227 -BR 18) belongs to the group of Ofpe/WN stars believed to be closely related to the Luminous Blue Variables. Support for such a relation comes from the spectral resemblance of these stars to AG Car during visual minimum, and from the observed outburst of the Ofpe/WN star R127.
The spectral analysis of R84 presented here is based on model calculations with the NLTE comoving-frame code described by Wessolowski et al. (1988) and references therein. The helium model atom was represented by 28 levels and hydrogen by 9 levels. The free model parameters were varied until the observed line profiles and the absolutely calibrated and dereddened continuum flux were reproduced. The comparison of the theoretical continuum flux distribution with the observed one yields a reddening of EB-V =0.1.