On the origin of the absorption features in SS 433

Barnes, A. D.; Casares, J.; Charles, P. A.; Clark, J. S.; Cornelisse, R.; Knigge, C. and Steeghs, D. (2006). On the origin of the absorption features in SS 433. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 365(1) pp. 296–302.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2005.09725.x


We present high-resolution optical spectroscopy of the X-ray binary system SS 433, obtained over a wide range of orbital phases. The spectra display numerous weak absorption features, and include the clearest example seen to date of those features (resembling a mid-A type supergiant spectrum), which have previously been associated with the mass-donor star. However, the new data preclude the hypothesis that these features originate solely within the photosphere of the putative mass donor, indicating that there may be more than one region within the system producing an A supergiant-like spectrum, probably an accretion disc wind. Indeed, whilst we cannot confirm the possibility that the companion star is visible at certain phase combinations, it is possible that all supergiant-like features observed thus far are produced solely in a wind. We conclude that great care must be taken when interpreting the behaviour of these weak features.

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