Occultation of Circular Polarization From Wind-Swept Fields

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Conference Proceeding

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Circular polarization from the Zeeman effect is difficult to detect whenever the ratio of the magnetic field strength to the linewidth is small, as might be expected in the winds of hot stars. However, globally structured fields, such as radially swept fields, do present a characteristically complex Zeeman signature that can be distinguished from noise even when small, because of its telltale features that are antisymmetric about the line. If the emission lines are skewed blueward, a signature of photospheric occultation of the redshifted hemisphere, we find that occultation will also reduce the detectability of the Zeeman effect on the red side of the line, further limiting our ability to detect weak magnetic fields in hypersonic winds. Hence, as instrumental precision improves sufficiently, symmetric emission lines will present advantages over lines skewed blueward by occultation, when seeking a Zeeman signal.