The effects of the stellar wind and orbital motion on the jets of high-mass microquasars
1 Departament d’Astronomia i MeteorologiaInstitut de Ciènces del Cosmos (ICCUB), Universitat de Barcelona (IEEC-UB), Martí i Franquès 1, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
2 Astrophysical Big Bang Laboratory, RIKEN, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, 351-0198 Saitama, Japan
Received: 21 March 2016
Accepted: 21 April 2016
Context. High-mass microquasar jets propagate under the effect of the wind from the companion star, and the orbital motion of the binary system. The stellar wind and the orbit may be dominant factors determining the jet properties beyond the binary scales.
Aims. This is an analytical study, performed to characterise the effects of the stellar wind and the orbital motion on the jet properties.
Methods. Accounting for the wind thrust transferred to the jet, we derive analytical estimates to characterise the jet evolution under the impact of the stellar wind. We include the Coriolis force effect, induced by orbital motion and enhanced by the wind’s presence. Large-scale evolution of the jet is sketched, accounting for wind-to-jet thrust transfer, total energy conservation, and wind-jet flow mixing.
Results. If the angle of the wind-induced jet bending is larger than its half-opening angle, the following is expected: (i) a strong recollimation shock; (ii) bending against orbital motion, caused by Coriolis forces and enhanced by the wind presence; and (iii) non-ballistic helical propagation further away. Even if disrupted, the jet can re-accelerate due to ambient pressure gradients, but wind entrainment can weaken this acceleration. On large scales, the opening angle of the helical structure is determined by the wind-jet thrust relation, and the wind-loaded jet flow can be rather slow.
Conclusions. The impact of stellar winds on high-mass microquasar jets can yield non-ballistic helical jet trajectories, jet partial disruption and wind mixing, shocks, and possibly non-thermal emission. Among other observational diagnostics, such as radiation variability at any band, the radio morphology on milliarcsecond scales can be informative on the wind-jet interaction.
Key words: hydrodynamics / X-rays: binaries / stars: winds, outflows / radiation mechanisms: non-thermal
© ESO, 2016