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A radio-map of the colliding winds in the very massive binary system HD 93129A  [PDF]
Paula Benaglia,Benito Marcote,Javier Moldon,Ed Nelan,Michael De Becker,Sean M. Dougherty,Baerbel Koribalski
Physics , 2015, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201425595
Abstract: Radio observations are an effective tool to discover particle acceleration regions in colliding-wind binaries, through detection of synchrotron radiation; these regions are natural laboratories for the study of relativistic particles. Wind-collision region (WCR) models can reproduce the radio continuum spectra of massive binaries that contain both thermal and non-thermal radio emission; however, key constraints for models come from high-resolution imaging. Only five WCRs have been resolved to date at radio frequencies at milliarcsec (mas) angular scales. The source HD 93129A, prototype of the very few known O2 I stars, is a promising target for study: recently, a second massive, early-type star about 50 mas away was discovered, and a non-thermal radio source detected in the region. Preliminary long-baseline array data suggest that a significant fraction of the radio emission from the system comes from a putative WCR. We sought evidence that HD 93129A is a massive binary system with colliding stellar winds that produce non-thermal radiation, through spatially resolved images of the radio emitting regions. We completed observations with the Australian Long Baseline Array (LBA) to resolve the system at mas angular resolutions and reduced archival Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) data to derive the total radio emission. We also compiled optical astrometric data of the system in a homogeneous way. We reduced historical Hubble Space Telescope data and obtained absolute and relative astrometry with milliarcsec accuracy. The astrometric analysis leads us to conclude that the two stars in HD 93129A form a gravitationally bound system. The LBA data reveal an extended arc-shaped non-thermal source between the two stars, indicative of a WCR. The wind momentum-rate ratio of the two stellar winds is estimated. The ATCA data show a point source with a change in flux level ...
MHD numerical simulations of colliding winds in massive binary systems - I. Thermal vs non-thermal radio emission  [PDF]
D. Falceta-Gon?alves,Z. Abraham
Physics , 2012, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2012.20978.x
Abstract: In the past few decades detailed observations of radio and X-rays emission from massive binary systems revealed a whole new physics present in such systems. Both thermal and non-thermal components of this emission indicate that most of the radiation at these bands originates in shocks. OB and WR stars present supersonic and massive winds that, when colliding, emit largely due to the free-free radiation. The non-thermal radio and X-ray emissions are due to synchrotron and inverse compton processes, respectively. In this case, magnetic fields are expected to play an important role on the emission distribution. In the past few years the modeling of the free-free and synchrotron emissions from massive binary systems have been based on purely hydrodynamical simulations, and ad hoc assumptions regarding the distribution of magnetic energy and the field geometry. In this work we provide the first full MHD numerical simulations of wind-wind collision in massive binary systems. We study the free-free emission characterizing its dependence on the stellar and orbital parameters. We also study self-consistently the evolution of the magnetic field at the shock region, obtaining also the synchrotron energy distribution integrated along different lines of sight. We show that the magnetic field in the shocks is larger than that obtained when the proportionality between $B$ and the plasma density is assumed. Also, we show that the role of the synchrotron emission relative to the total radio emission has been underestimated.
Magnetic fields in massive stars, their winds, and their nebulae  [PDF]
Rolf Walder,Doris Folini,Georges Meynet
Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1007/s11214-011-9771-2
Abstract: Massive stars are crucial building blocks of galaxies and the universe, as production sites of heavy elements and as stirring agents and energy providers through stellar winds and supernovae. The field of magnetic massive stars has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Different perspectives -- ranging from direct field measurements over dynamo theory and stellar evolution to colliding winds and the stellar environment -- fruitfully combine into a most interesting and still evolving overall picture, which we attempt to review here. Zeeman signatures leave no doubt that at least some O- and early B-type stars have a surface magnetic field. Indirect evidence, especially non-thermal radio emission from colliding winds, suggests many more. The emerging picture for massive stars shows similarities with results from intermediate mass stars, for which much more data are available. Observations are often compatible with a dipole or low order multi-pole field of about 1 kG (O-stars) or 300 G to 30 kG (Ap / Bp stars). Weak and unordered fields have been detected in the O-star zeta-Ori A and in Vega, the first normal A-type star with a magnetic field. Theory offers essentially two explanations for the origin of the observed surface fields: fossil fields, particularly for strong and ordered fields, or different dynamo mechanisms, preferentially for less ordered fields. Numerical simulations yield the first concrete stable (fossil) field configuration, but give contradictory results as to whether dynamo action in the radiative envelope of massive main sequence stars is possible. Internal magnetic fields, which may not even show up at the stellar surface, affect stellar evolution as they lead to a more uniform rotation, with more slowly rotating cores and faster surface rotation. Surface metallicities may become enhanced, thus affecting the mass-loss rates.
Parameter constraints for high-energy models of colliding winds of massive stars: the case WR 147  [PDF]
A. Reimer,O. Reimer
Physics , 2009, DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/694/2/1139
Abstract: We explore the ability of high energy observations to constrain orbital parameters of long period massive binary systems by means of an inverse Compton model acting in colliding wind environments. This is particular relevant for (very) long period binaries where orbital parameters are often poorly known from conventional methods, as is the case e.g. for the Wolf-Rayet (WR) star binary system WR 147 where INTEGRAL and MAGIC upper limits on the high-energy emission have recently been presented. We conduct a parameter study of the set of free quantities describing the yet vaguely constrained geometry and respective effects on the non-thermal high-energy radiation from WR 147. The results are confronted with the recently obtained high-energy observations and with sensitivities of contemporaneous high-energy instruments like Fermi-LAT. For binaries with sufficient long periods, like WR 147, gamma-ray attenuation is unlikely to cause any distinctive features in the high-energy spectrum. This leaves the anisotropic inverse Compton scattering as the only process that reacts sensitively on the line-of-sight angle with respect to the orbital plane, and therefore allows the deduction of system parameters even from observations not covering a substantial part of the orbit. Provided that particle acceleration acts sufficiently effectively to allow the production of GeV photons through inverse Compton scattering, our analysis indicates a preference for WR 147 to possess a large inclination angle. Otherwise, for low inclination angles, electron acceleration is constrained to be less efficient as anticipated here.
3D models of radiatively driven colliding winds in massive O+O star binaries - II. Thermal radio to sub-mm emission  [PDF]
J. M. Pittard
Physics , 2009, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.15516.x
Abstract: In this work the thermal emission over cm to sub-mm wavelengths from the winds in short-period O+O-star binaries is investigated (potential non-thermal emission is presently ignored). The calculations are based on three-dimensional hydrodynamical models which incorporate gravity, the driving of the winds, orbital motion of the stars, and radiative cooling of the shocked plasma. The thermal emission arises from the stellar winds and the region where they collide. We investigate the flux and spectrum from a variety of models as a function of orbital phase and orientation of the observer, and compare to the single star case. The emission from the wind-wind collision region (WCR) is strongly dependent on its density and temperature, being optically thick in radiative systems, and optically thin in adiabatic systems. The flux from systems where the WCR is highly radiative, as investigated for the first time in this work, can be over an order of magnitude greater than the combined flux from identically typed single stars. This excess occurs over a broad range of wavelengths from cm to sub-mm. In contrast, when the WCR is largely adiabatic, a significant excess in the thermal flux occurs only below 100 GHz. Eccentric systems may show order of magnitude or greater flux variability, especially if the plasma in the WCR transitions from an adiabatic to a radiative state and vice-versa - in such cases the flux can display significant hysteresis with stellar separation. We further demonstrate that clumping can affect the variability of radio lightcurves. We investigate the spectral index of the emission, and often find indices steeper than +0.6. Our predictions are of interest to future observations with the next generation of radio and sub-mm telescopes (abridged).
Radio observations of massive stars  [PDF]
Ronny Blomme
Physics , 2011,
Abstract: Detectable radio emission occurs during almost all phases of massive star evolution. I will concentrate on the thermal and non-thermal continuum emission from early-type stars. The thermal radio emission is due to free-free interactions in the ionized stellar wind material. Early ideas that this would lead to an easy and straightforward way of measuring the mass-loss rates were thwarted by the presence of clumping in the stellar wind. Multi-wavelength observations provide important constraints on this clumping, but do not allow its full determination. Non-thermal radio emission is associated with binarity. This conclusion was already known for some time for Wolf-Rayet stars and in recent years it has become clear that it is also true for O-type stars. In a massive-star binary, the two stellar winds collide and around the shocks a fraction of the electrons are accelerated to relativistic speeds. Spiralling in the magnetic field these electrons emit synchrotron radiation, which we detect as non-thermal radio emission. The many parameters that influence the resulting non-thermal radio fluxes make the modelling of these systems particularly challenging, but their study will provide interesting new insight into massive stars.
Radio emission from the massive stars in the Galactic Super Star Cluster Westerlund 1  [PDF]
S. M. Dougherty,J. S. Clark,I. Negueruela,T. Johnson,J. M. Chapman
Physics , 2009, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200913505
Abstract: Current mass-loss rate estimates imply that main sequence winds are not sufficient to strip away the H-rich envelope to yield Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars. The rich transitional population of Westerlund 1 (Wd 1) provides an ideal laboratory to observe mass-loss processes throughout the transitional phase of stellar evolution. An analysis of deep radio continuum observations of Wd 1 is presented. We detect 18 cluster members. The radio properties of the sample are diverse, with thermal, non-thermal and composite thermal/non-thermal sources present. Mass-loss rates are ~10^{-5} solar mass/year across all spectral types, insufficient to form WRs during a massive star lifetime, and the stars must undergo a period of enhanced mass loss. The sgB[e] star W9 may provide an example, with a mass-loss rate an order of magnitude higher than the other cluster members, and an extended nebula of density ~3 times the current wind. This structure is reminiscent of luminous blue variables, and one with evidence of two eras of high, possibly eruptive, mass loss. Three OB supergiants are detected, implying unusually dense winds. They also may have composite spectra, suggesting binarity. Spatially resolved nebulae are associated with three of the four RSGs and three of the six YHGs in the cluster, which are due to quiescent mass loss rather than outbursts. For some of the cool star winds, the ionizing source may be a companion star though the cluster radiation density is sufficiently high to provide the necessary ionizing radiation. Five WR stars are detected with composite spectra, interpreted as arising in colliding-wind binaries.
The kinematic characteristics of magnetic O-type stars  [PDF]
S. Hubrig,N. V. Kharchenko,M. Schoeller
Physics , 2010, DOI: 10.1002/asna.201011479
Abstract: Although magnetic fields have been discovered in ten massive O-type stars during the last years, the origin of their magnetic fields remains unknown. Among the magnetic O-type stars, two stars, HD36879 and HD57682, were identified as candidate runaway stars in the past, and theta^1 Ori C was reported to move rapidly away from its host cluster. We search for an explanation for the occurrence of magnetic fields in O-type stars by examining the assumption of their runaway status. We use the currently best available astrometric, spectroscopic, and photometric data to calculate the kinematical status of seven magnetic O-type stars with previously unknown space velocities. The results of the calculations of space velocities suggest that five out of the seven magnetic O-type stars can be considered as candidate runaway stars. Only two stars, HD155806 and HD164794, with the lowest space velocities, are likely members of Sco OB4 and NGC6530, respectively. However, the non-thermal radio emitter HD164794 is a binary system with colliding winds, for which the detected magnetic field has probably a different origin in comparison to other magnetic O-type stars.
Stellar winds from Massive Stars  [PDF]
Paul A. Crowther
Physics , 2000, DOI: 10.1007/978-94-015-9723-4_17
Abstract: We review the various techniques through which wind properties of massive stars - O stars, AB supergiants, Luminous Blue Variables (LBVs), Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars and cool supergiants - are derived. The wind momentum-luminosity relation (e.g. Kudritzki et al. 1999) provides a method of predicting mass-loss rates of O stars and blue supergiants which is superior to previous parameterizations. Assuming the theoretical sqrt(Z) metallicity dependence, Magellanic Cloud O star mass-loss rates are typically matched to within a factor of two for various calibrations. Stellar winds from LBVs are typically denser and slower than equivalent B supergiants, with exceptional mass-loss rates during giant eruptions Mdot=10^-3 .. 10^-1 Mo/yr (Drissen et al. 2001). Recent mass-loss rates for Galactic WR stars indicate a downward revision of 2-4 relative to previous calibrations due to clumping (e.g. Schmutz 1997), although evidence for a metallicity dependence remains inconclusive (Crowther 2000). Mass-loss properties of luminous (> 10^5 Lo) yellow and red supergiants from alternative techniques remain highly contradictory. Recent Galactic and LMC results for RSG reveal a large scatter such that typical mass-loss rates lie in the range 10^-6 .. 10^-4 Mo/yr, with a few cases exhibiting 10^-3 Mo/yr.
VLA Detection of the Ionized Stellar Winds Arising from Massive Stars in the Galactic Center Arches Cluster  [PDF]
Cornelia C. Lang,W. M. Goss,Luis F. Rodriguez
Physics , 2001, DOI: 10.1086/320032
Abstract: The Galactic center Arches stellar cluster, detected and studied until now only in the near-infrared, is comprised of at least one hundred massive (M>20 Msun) stars. Here we report the detection at centimeter wavelengths of radio continuum emission from eight radio sources associated with the cluster. Seven of these radio sources have rising spectral indices between 4.9 and 8.5 GHz and coincide spatially with the brightest stars in the cluster, as determine from JHK photometry and Brackett alpha and Brackett Gamma spectroscopy. Our results confirm the presence of powerful ionized winds in these stars. The eighth radio source has a nonthermal spectrum and its nature is yet unclear, but it could be associated with a lower mass young star in the cluster.
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