Radio emission models of Colliding-Wind Binary Systems

Institute for Astronomy (IfA), The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 07/2003; 409(1). DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20031048
Source: arXiv


We present calculations of the spatial and spectral distribution of the radio emission from a wide WR+OB colliding-wind binary system based on high-resolution hydrodynamical simulations and solutions to the radiative transfer equation. We account for both thermal and synchrotron radio emission, free-free absorption in both the unshocked stellar wind envelopes and the shocked gas, synchrotron self-absorption, and the Razin effect. The applicability of these calculations to modelling radio images and spectra of colliding-wind systems is demonstrated with models of the radio emission from the wide WR+OB binary WR147. Its synchrotron spectrum follows a power-law between 5 and 15 GHz but turns down to below this at lower and higher frequencies. We find that while free-free opacity from the circum-binary stellar winds can potentially account for the low-frequency turnover, models that also include a combination of synchrotron self-absorption and Razin effect are favoured. We argue that the high-frequency turn down is a consequence of inverse-Compton cooling. We present our resulting spectra and intensity distributions, along with simulated MERLIN observations of these intensity distributions. From these we argue that the inclination of the WR147 system to the plane of the sky is low. We summarise by considering extensions of the current model that are important for models of the emission from closer colliding wind binaries, in particular the dramatically varying radio emission of WR140. Comment: 18 pages, 18 figures; Accepted by Astronomy and Astrophysics, July 8, 2003

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Available from: Julian M. Pittard, Jan 22, 2013
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    ABSTRACT: The classical model for free-free emission from ionized stellar winds is based on the assumption of a stationary, isotropic and homogeneous wind. However, since there exist objects whose wind behaviour deviates from the standard model, during the last decade these assumptions have been questioned. In this work, we present results for 3 bright sources: P Cyg, Cyg OB2 No.12 and WR 147. These objects have been reported to possess winds that deviate from the basic assumptions. We have obtained flux densities, sizes, spectral indices and mass loss rates for each of the targets. These parameters allow us to analyze possible asymmetries, inhomogeneities and time variations in the flux densities. These features confirm the nonclassical behaviour of these winds.
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