Volume 610, February 2018
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Published online||23 February 2018|
The environment of the wind–wind collision region of η Carinae
Astronomy Department, University of Geneva,
Chemin d’Ecogia 16,
Accepted: 7 November 2017
Context. η Carinae is a colliding wind binary hosting two of the most massive stars and featuring the strongest wind collision mechanical luminosity. The wind collision region of this system is detected in X-rays and γ-rays and offers a unique laboratory for the study of particle acceleration and wind magneto-hydrodynamics.
Aim. Our main goal is to use X-ray observations of η Carinae around periastron to constrain the wind collision zone geometry and understand the reasons for its variability.
Methods. We analysed 10 Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) observations, which were obtained around the 2014 periastron. The NuSTAR array monitored the source from 3 to 30 keV, which allowed us to grasp the continuum and absorption parameters with very good accuracy. We were able to identify several physical components and probe their variability.
Results. The X-ray flux varied in a similar way as observed during previous periastrons and largely as expected if generated in the wind collision region. The flux detected within ~10 days of periastron is lower than expected, suggesting a partial disruption of the central region of the wind collision zone. The Fe Kα line is likely broadened by the electrons heated along the complex shock fronts. The variability of its equivalent width indicates that the fluorescence region has a complex geometry and that the source obscuration varies quickly with the line of sight.
Key words: stars: individual: η Carinae / stars: winds, outflows / X-rays: binaries
© ESO, 2018
Current usage metrics show cumulative count of Article Views (full-text article views including HTML views, PDF and ePub downloads, according to the available data) and Abstracts Views on Vision4Press platform.
Data correspond to usage on the plateform after 2015. The current usage metrics is available 48-96 hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days.
Initial download of the metrics may take a while.