Title: Using numerical models of bow shocks to investigate the circumstellar medium of massive stars
Authors: van Marle, Allard Jan
Decin, Leen
Cox, Nick
Meliani, Zakaria
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd.
Host Document: Journal of Physics - Conference Series vol:577
Conference: 13th Annual International Astrophysics Conference location:Myrtle Beach (USA) date:10-14 March 2014
Article number: UNSP 012024
Abstract: Many massive stars travel through the interstellar medium at supersonic speeds.
As a result they form bow shocks at the interface between the stellar wind.
We use numerical hydrodynamics to reproduce such bow shocks numerically, creating models that
can be compared to observations.
In this paper we discuss the influence of two physical phenomena, interstellar magnetic fields
and the presence of interstellar dust grains on the observable shape of the bow shocks of massive stars.

We find that the interstellar magnetic field, though too weak to restrict the general shape of the bow shock,
reduces the size of the instabilities that would otherwise be observed in the bow shock of a red supergiant.
The interstellar dust grains, due to their inertia can penetrate deep into the bow shock structure of a main sequence O-supergiant,
crossing over from the ISM into the stellar wind.
Therefore, the dust distribution may not always reflect the morphology of the gas.
This is an important consideration for infrared observations, which are dominated by dust emission.

Our models clearly show, that the bow shocks of massive stars are useful diagnostic tools that can used
to investigate the properties of both the stellar wind as well as the interstellar medium.
ISSN: 1742-6588
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IC
Appears in Collections:Institute of Astronomy

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