Hot, massive stars have strong stellar winds, and in hot-star binaries these winds can undergo violent collision. Because such winds are thought to be radiatively driven, radiative forces may also play an important role in moderating the wind collision. However, previous studies have been limited to considering how such forces may inhibit the initial acceleration of the companion stellar wind. In this poster we describe the role of an even stronger radiative braking effect, whereby the primary wind is rather suddenly decelerated by the radiative momentum flux it encounters as it approaches a bright companion. We show that the braking location and velocity law along the line of centers between the stars can be approximated analytically using a simple one-dimensional analysis. The results of this analysis agree well with a detailed two-dimensional hydrodynamical simulation of the wind collision in the WR+O binary V444 Cygni, and demonstrate that radiative braking can significantly alter the bow-shock geometry and reduce the strength of the wind collision. We also apply the derived analytic theory to a set of 14 hot-star binary systems, and conclude that radiative braking is likely to be of widespread importance for wind-wind collisions in WR+O binaries with close to medium separation, D <= 100 Rsun. It may also be important in other types of hot-star binaries that exhibit a large imbalance between the component wind strengths.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts #188
- Pub Date:
- May 1996