Monte Carlo Simulations of Polarimetric and Light Variability From Corotating Interaction Regions in Hot Stellar Winds

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We use a 3D Monte Carlo radiative transfer code to study the polarimetric and photometric variability from stationary corotating interaction regions (CIR) in the wind of massive stars. Our CIRs are approximated by Archimedean spirals of higher (or lower) density formed in a spherical wind originating from the star and we also made allowance for a bright Gaussian spot at the base of the CIR. Comparing results from our code to previous analytical calculations in the optically thin case, we find differences which we attribute mainly to a better estimation of the total unpolarized flux reaching the observer. In the optically thick case, the differences with the analytical calculations are much larger, as multiple scattering introduces additional complexities including occultation effects. The addition of a Gaussian spot does not alter the shape of the polarization curve significantly but does create a small excess in polarization. On the other hand, the effect can be larger on the light curve and can become dominant over the resulting CIR, depending on the spot parameters and density of the wind.