Volume 544, August 2012
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||26 July 2012|
Simulations of stellar/pulsar-wind interaction along one full orbit⋆
1 Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 31 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2, Ireland
2 Max Planck Institut für Kernphysik, Saupfercheckweg 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
3 Space Research Institute, 84/32 Profsoyuznaya Street, Moscow, Russia
4 Institute of Space and Astronautical Science/JAXA, 3-1-1 Yoshinodai, Chuo-ku, Sagamihara, 252-5210 Kanagawa, Japan
5 Dept. d’Astronomia i Astrofísica, Universitat de València, C/ Dr. Moliner 50, 46100 Burjassot (València), Spain
Received: 20 March 2012
Accepted: 30 June 2012
Context. The winds from a non-accreting pulsar and a massive star in a binary system collide forming a bow-shaped shock structure. The Coriolis force induced by orbital motion deflects the shocked flows, strongly affecting their dynamics.
Aims. We study the evolution of the shocked stellar and pulsar winds on scales in which the orbital motion is important. Potential sites of non-thermal activity are investigated.
Methods. Relativistic hydrodynamical simulations in two dimensions, performed with the code PLUTO and using the adaptive mesh refinement technique, are used to model interacting stellar and pulsar winds on scales ~80 times the distance between the stars. The hydrodynamical results suggest the suitable locations of sites for particle acceleration and non-thermal emission.
Results. In addition to the shock formed towards the star, the shocked and unshocked components of the pulsar wind flowing away from the star terminate by means of additional strong shocks produced by the orbital motion. Strong instabilities lead to the development of turbulence and an effective two-wind mixing in both the leading and trailing sides of the interaction structure, which starts to merge with itself after one orbit. The adopted moderate pulsar-wind Lorentz factor already provides a good qualitative description of the phenomena involved in high-mass binaries with pulsars, and can capture important physical effects that would not appear in non-relativistic treatments.
Conclusions. Simulations show that shocks, instabilities, and mass-loading yield efficient mass, momentum, and energy exchanges between the pulsar and the stellar winds. This renders a rapid increase in the entropy of the shocked structure, which will likely be disrupted on scales beyond the simulated ones. Several sites of particle acceleration and low- and high-energy emission can be identified. Doppler boosting will have significant and complex effects on radiation.
Key words: hydrodynamics / X-rays: binaries / stars: winds, outflows / radiation mechanisms: non-thermal / gamma rays: stars
A movie of the simulation is available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2012
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