Abstract: NaSt1 is a peculiar emission-line star embedded in an extended nebula of optical [N II] emission with a compact dusty core. This object has been characterized as a Wolf-Rayet (WR) star cloaked in an opaque nebula of material that shows signs of advanced nuclear processing in the core of a massive star. To discern the morphology of the [N II] nebula we performed narrowband imaging using the Hubble Space Telescope. The images reveal that the nebula has a disk-like geometry, composed of a bright central ellipsoid surrounded by a larger clumpy ring. Near-infrared imaging with Magellan AO resolved a compact ellipsoid of Ks-band emission aligned with the larger [N II] nebula. The source is more compact at L’ and M’, so we suspect the Ks-band emission result of neutral helium emission from the inner stellar wind scattered outward by reflection off of cool dust in the nebula. Observations with the Chandra X-ray Observatory have revealed a hard X-ray point source at the core of the nebula that is consistent with WR stars and massive binaries where powerful stellar winds collide and make X-rays. We suggest that NaSt1 is a WR binary embedded in an equatorial outflow that formed as the result of non-conservative mass transfer (the transfer is not completely efficient, and some material is lost from the binary system through the outer Lagrange points). NaSt1 thus appears to be a rare and important example of a stripped-envelope WR forming through binary interaction.
Mauerhan, J., et al. “Multiwavelength Observations of NaSt1 (WR 122): Equatorial Mass Loss and X-rays from an Interacting Wolf-Rayet Binary”