EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 388, Number 1, June II 2002
Page(s) L20 - L23
Section Letters
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20020583
Published online 28 May 2002

A&A 388, L20-L23 (2002)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20020583


The dominant X-ray wind in massive star binaries

J. M. Pittard1 and I. R. Stevens2

1  Department of Physics & Astronomy, The University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
2  Department of Physics & Astronomy, The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK

(Received 8 March 2002 / Accepted 12 April 2002 )

We investigate which shocked wind is responsible for the majority of the X-ray emission in colliding wind binaries, an issue where there is some confusion in the literature, and which we show is more complicated than has been assumed. We find that where both winds rapidly cool (typically close binaries), the ratio of the wind speeds is often more important than the momentum ratio, because it controls the energy flux ratio, and the faster wind is generally the dominant emitter. When both winds are largely adiabatic (typically long-period binaries), the slower and denser wind will cool faster and the stronger wind generally dominates the X-ray luminosity.

Key words: stars: binaries: general -- stars: early-type -- stars: Wolf-Rayet -- X-rays: stars

Offprint request: J. M. Pittard, jmp@ast.leeds.ac.uk

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© ESO 2002

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