Interferometric radio observations of the interactive winds of massive stars

Brookes, Diane Patricia (2016). Interferometric radio observations of the interactive winds of massive stars. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Massive stars have very strong stellar winds which interact with their environment. This work has involved the study of these interactive winds at radio and other wavelengths. Radio observations have been made of the massive runaway star BD+43◦ 3654 and its bow shock which is interacting with the inter-stellar medium. These observations, together with archive data at other wavelengths, have revealed stratified dust and turbulent gas in this interaction zone. Further radio studies have been undertaken of the interaction zones of the colliding winds of massive binary systems. Observations of the colliding wind binary WR 147 at 5GHz have revealed a curved collision zone, suggestive of simple interactive models. Measurements of the flux from the Wolf-Rayet component of this massive binary system has allowed a mass-loss rate to be derived and though the companion O-star is not detected, an upper flux limit has allowed upper limits on the mass-loss rate and limits on the terminal velocity to be inferred. Also revealed is a curious ’bridge’ feature previously observed in WR 147 which occurs between the two binary components. One mechanism is suggested to explain this anomalous feature, the ionising flux of one binary component, the O-star, may be ionising the wind of the other, the WR component. Modelling of the ionisation structure of the stellar winds has been undertaken to verify that this may be occurring. Radio observations of massive stars made at low-frequency have produced detections of WR 147 and the brighter colliding wind binary, WR 146. These detections have allowed modelling of the non-thermal emission in order to deduce where the non-thermal absorption turn-over occurs in these systems. The resultant modelling has illustrated that these colliding wind regions are complex, with multiple absorption regions best describing their nature.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Physics and Astronomy
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics


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