2D wind clumping in hot, massive stars from hydrodynamical line-driven instability simulations using a pseudo-planar approach
KU Leuven, Instituut voor Sterrenkunde,
2 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Bartol Research Institute, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA
3 Universitätssternwarte München, Scheinerstr. 1, 81679 München, Germany
Accepted: 20 October 2017
Context. Clumping in the radiation-driven winds of hot, massive stars arises naturally due to the strong, intrinsic instability of line-driving (the line-deshadowing instability, hereafter LDI). But LDI wind models have so far mostly been limited to 1D, mainly because of the severe computational challenges regarding calculation of the multi-dimensional radiation force.
Aim. In this paper we simulate and examine the dynamics and multi-dimensional nature of wind structure resulting from the LDI.
Methods. We introduce a pseudo-planar, box-in-a-wind method that allows us to efficiently compute the line force in the radial and lateral directions, and then use this approach to carry out 2D radiation-hydrodynamical simulations of the time-dependent wind.
Results. Our 2D simulations show that the LDI first manifests itself by mimicking the typical shell structure seen in 1D models, but that these shells quickly break up into complex 2D density and velocity structures, characterized by small-scale density “clumps” embedded in larger regions of fast and rarefied gas. Key results of the simulations are that density variations in the well-developed wind are statistically quite isotropic and that characteristic length scales are small; a typical clump size is ℓcl∕R*~ 0.01 at 2R*, thus also resulting in rather low typical clump masses mcl ~ 1017 g. Overall, our results agree well with the theoretical expectation that the characteristic scale for LDI generated wind-structure is on the order of the Sobolev length ℓSob. We further confirm some earlier results that lateral “filling in” of radially compressed gas leads to somewhat lower clumping factors in 2D simulations than in comparable 1D models. We conclude by discussing an extension of our method toward rotating LDI wind models that exhibit an intriguing combination of large- and small-scale structures extending down to the wind base.
Key words: radiation: dynamics / hydrodynamics / instabilities / stars: early-type / stars: mass loss / stars: winds, outflows
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