EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 406, Number 1, July IV 2003
Page(s) L1 - L4
Section Letters
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20030810

A&A 406, L1-L4 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20030810


Two-dimensional simulations of the line-driven instability in hot-star winds

L. Dessart1 and S. P. Owocki2

1  Max-Planck Institute für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarschild-Str. 1, 85740 Garching bei München, Germany
2  Bartol Research Institute of the University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA
    e-mail: owocki@bartol.udel.edu

(Received 23 April 2003 / Accepted 26 May 2003)

We report initial results of two-dimensional simulations of the nonlinear evolution of the line-driven instability (LDI) in hot-star winds. The method is based on the Smooth Source Function (SSF) formalism for nonlocal evaluation of the radial line-force, implemented separately within each of a set of radiatively isolated azimuthal grid zones. The results show that radially compressed "shells" that develop initially from the LDI are systematically broken up by Rayleigh-Taylor or thin-shell instabilities as these structures are accelerated outward. Through radial feedback of backscattered radiation, this leads ultimately to a flow structure characterized by nearly complete lateral incoherence, with structure extending down to the lateral grid scale, which here corresponds to angle sizes of order a fifth of a degree. We briefly discuss the implications for interpreting various observational diagnostics of wind structure, but also emphasize the importance of future extensions to include lateral line-drag effects of diffuse radiation, which may set a minimum lateral scale for break-up of flow structure.

Key words: line: formation -- radiative transfer -- stars: atmospheres -- stars: early type -- stars: mass loss

Offprint request: L. Dessart, luc@mpa-garching.mpg.de

© ESO 2003