Space Science Reviews

, Volume 66, Issue 1–4, pp 271–275 | Cite as

Tailored analyses of 24 Galactic WN stars

  • Paul A. Crowther
  • Linda J. Smith
  • D. John Hillier
Massive Star Atmospheres and Stellar Winds


The fundamental properties of 24 Galactic WN stars are determined from analyses of their optical, UV and IR spectra using sophisticated model atmosphere codes (Hillier, 1987, 1990). Terminal velocities, stellar luminosities, temperatures, mass loss rates and abundances of hydrogen, helium, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen are determined. Stellar parameters are derived using diagnostic lines and interstellar reddenings found from fitting theoretical continua to observed energy distributions.

Our results confirm that the parameters of WN stars span a large range in temperature (T*=30–90,000 K), luminosity (log L*/L=4.8–5.9), mass loss (M=0.9–12×10−5 M yr−1) and terminal velocity (v=630–3300 km s−1). Hydrogen abundances are determined, and found to be low in WNEw and WNEs stars (<15% by mass) and considerable in most WNL stars (1–50%). Metal abundances are also determined with the nitrogen content found to lie in the range N/He=1–5×10−3 (by number) for all subtypes, and C/N ∼0.02 in broad agreement with the predictions of Maeder (1991). Enhanced O/N and O/C is found for HD 104994 (WN3p) suggesting a peculiar evolutionary history. Our results suggest that single WNL+abs stars may represent an evolutionary stage immediately after the Of phase. Since some WNE stars exist with non-negligible hydrogen contents (e.g. WR136) evolution may proceed directly from WNL+abs to WNE in some cases, circumventing the luminous blue variable (LBV) or red supergiant (RSG) stage.

Key words

stars:atmospheres stars:Wolf-Rayet stars:abundances stars:winds stars:massloss 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul A. Crowther
    • 1
  • Linda J. Smith
    • 1
  • D. John Hillier
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Institute of Astronomy and AstrophysicsMunich 80Federal Republic of Germany

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