Radiation-Hydrodynamic Models of the evolving Circumstellar Medium around Massive Stars

The Astrophysical Journal (Impact Factor: 5.99). 06/2011; 737(2). DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/737/2/100
Source: arXiv


We study the evolution of the interstellar and circumstellar media around massive stars (M ≥ 40 M
☉) from the main sequence (MS) through to the Wolf-Rayet (WR) stage by means of radiation-hydrodynamic simulations. We use publicly available stellar evolution models to investigate the different possible structures that can form in the stellar wind bubbles around WR stars. We find significant differences between models with and without stellar rotation, and between models from different authors. More specifically, we find that the main ingredients in the formation of structures in the WR wind bubbles are the duration of the red supergiant (or luminous blue variable) phase, the amount of mass lost, and the wind velocity during this phase, in agreement with previous authors. Thermal conduction is also included in our models. We find that MS bubbles with thermal conduction are slightly smaller, due to extra cooling which reduces the pressure in the hot, shocked bubble, but that thermal conduction does not appear to significantly influence the formation of structures in post-MS bubbles. Finally, we study the predicted X-ray emission from the models and compare our results with observations of the WR bubbles S 308, NGC 6888, and RCW 58. We find that bubbles composed primarily of clumps have reduced X-ray luminosity and very soft spectra, while bubbles with shells correspond more closely to observations.

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Available from: Jesús A. Toalá
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