Wind asymmetries in massive stars

R. E. Schulte-Ladbeck, University of Pittsburgh
G. C. Clayton, University of Colorado Boulder
C. Leitherer, Space Telescope Science Institute
L. Drissen, Space Telescope Science Institute
C. Robert, Space Telescope Science Institute
A. Nota, Space Telescope Science Institute
J. WM Parker, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


We are in the process of surveying the linear polarization in luminous, early-type stars. We here report on new observations of the B [e] stars S 18 and R 50, and of the Luminous Blue Variables HR Car, R 143, and HD 160529. Together with previously published data, these observations provide clear evidence for the presence of intrinsic polarization in 1 B[e] star (HD 34664) and in 5 LBVs (ν Car, P Cyg, R 127, AG Car, and HR Car). The data indicate that anisotropic stellar winds are a common occurrence among massive stars in these particular evolutionary stages. For such stars, mass-loss rates estimated using the assumption of a spherical, homogeneous and stationary outflow may be in error. © 1994 Kluwer Academic Publishers.