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Journal Articles Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Year : 2022

Smoke on the wind: dust nucleation in archetype colliding wind pinwheel WR 104


A handful of binary Wolf-Rayet stars are known to harbour spectacular spiral structures spanning a few hundred AU. These systems host some of the highest dust production rates in the Universe and are therefore interesting candidates to address the origin of the enigmatic dust excess observed across galactic evolution. The substantial interaction between the winds of the Wolf-Rayet star and its companion constitutes a unique laboratory to study the mechanisms of dust nucleation in a hostile environment. Using the grid-based RAMSES code, we investigate this problem by performing a 3D hydrodynamic simulation of the inner region of the prototypical spiral nebula around WR104. We then process the RAMSES results using the radiative transfer code RADMC3d to generate a candidate observable scene. This allows us to estimate the geometrical parameters of the shocked region. We link those quantities to the specific chemical pathway for dust nucleation, where the hydrogen-rich companion's wind catalyses dust formation. The scaling laws we derive constitute a unique tool that can be directly compared to observations. Depending on the dust nucleation locus, the velocity field reveals a differential wind speed, implying that the initial dust speed could be more balanced between the speeds of the two stellar winds (~1600 km/s). With RADMC3d, we provide constraints on the dust nucleation radius for different combinations of dust-to-gas ratio, hydrogen fraction and dust grain properties. Finally, our models reveal that dust may escape beyond the boundaries of the spiral due to hydrodynamical instabilities in the wind collision zone.
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insu-03860273 , version 1 (07-04-2023)



A. Soulain, A. Lamberts, F. Millour, P. Tuthill, R. M. Lau. Smoke on the wind: dust nucleation in archetype colliding wind pinwheel WR 104. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2022, ⟨10.1093/mnras/stac2999⟩. ⟨insu-03860273⟩
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