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Winds from rotating Wolf-Rayet stars: the wind-compressed zone model

  • J. P. Cassinelli (a1), R. Ignace (a1) and J. E. Bjorkman (a1)

Abstract

Theoretical models for Wolf-Rayet winds that include the effects of rotation and magnetic fields are discussed. These are of two types: magnetic rotator models and wind compression models. The magnetic rotator models are examples of equatorial expulsion models, typically requiring large rotation rates to produce significant equatorial density enhancements. Wind- compression models are introduced here as an application of the two-dimensional Wind-Compressed Disk (WCD) model that has recently been developed for Be stars. An equatorial disk forms because of the supersonic confluence of the flow from the upper and lower hemispheres of the star. In the application to WR stars, we suggest that disk formation is not required, and instead a less extreme example that we call a wind-compressed zone (WCZ) may suffice. Because the winds of WR stars have a geometrically extended acceleration region, or a “slow” velocity law, there can be compressions by an order of magnitude, even with moderate stellar rotation rates of about 16% critical. Magnetic flux conservation is then used to estimate the enhancement of the field strength that occurs because of the equatorial wind-compression. We consider an application of the model to explain the occurrence of polarization and dust formation among only some WR stars. Finally, we consider the WR + compact companion system WR 147, and suggest that the enhanced accretion in a WCZ could help explain the large X-ray emission.

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References

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Winds from rotating Wolf-Rayet stars: the wind-compressed zone model

  • J. P. Cassinelli (a1), R. Ignace (a1) and J. E. Bjorkman (a1)

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