Document Type


Publication Date

September 2006


A number of strong infrared forbidden lines have been observed in several evolved Wolf–Rayet (WR) star winds, and these are important for deriving metal abundances and testing stellar evolution models. In addition, because these optically thin lines form at large radius in the wind, their resolved profiles carry an imprint of the asymptotic structure of the wind flow. This work presents model forbidden line profile shapes formed in axisymmetric winds. It is well known that an optically thin emission line formed in a spherical wind expanding at constant velocity yields a flat-topped emission profile shape. Simulated forbidden lines are produced for a model stellar wind with an axisymmetric density distribution that treats the latitudinal ionization self-consistently and examines the influence of the ion stage on the profile shape. The resulting line profiles are symmetric about line centre. Within a given atomic species, profile shapes can vary between centrally peaked, doubly peaked, and approximately flat-topped in appearance depending on the ion stage (relative to the dominant ion) and viewing inclination. Although application to WR star winds is emphasized, the concepts are also relevant to other classes of hot stars such as luminous blue variables and Be/B[e] stars.

Copyright Statement

This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2006 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2006.10657.x