Detailed X-ray line properties of θ² Ori A in quiescence

Arik W. Mitschang, Norbert S. Schulz, David P. Huenemoerder, Joy S. Nichols, Paola Testa

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2 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate X-ray emission properties of the peculiar X-ray source θ² Ori A in the Orion Trapezium region using more than 500 ks of HETGS spectral data in the quiescent state. The amount of exposure provides tight constraints on several important diagnostics involving O, Ne, Mg, and Si line flux ratios from He-like ion triplets, resonance line ratios of the H- and He-like lines, and line widths. Accounting for the influence of the strong UV radiation field of the O9.5V star, we can now place the He-like line origin well within two stellar radii of the O-star's surface. The lines are resolved with average line widths of 341 ± 38 km s⁻¹. In the framework of standard wind models, this likely implies a rather weak wind with moderate post-shock velocities. The emission measure distribution of the X-ray spectrum, as reported previously, includes very high temperature components which are not easily explained in this framework. The X-ray properties are also not consistent with coronal emissions from an unseen low-mass companion nor with typical signatures from colliding wind interactions. The properties are more consistent with X-ray signatures observed in the massive Trapezium star θ¹ Ori C which has recently been successfully modeled with a magnetically confined wind model.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-1-14-8
Number of pages8
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • stars: individual (θ²Ori A)
  • stars: magnetic field
  • stars: winds
  • outflows
  • X-rays: stars


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