Welcome to Peredur Williams's home page
The most massive hot stars are constantly losing mass in fast (1000-3000 km s-1) stellar
winds which carry away ∼ 10-6 to 10-5 M⊙ y-1
(the higher mass loss coming from Wolf-Rayet stars), giving the winds significant kinetic power.
When the stars are members of binary systems, "colliding-wind binaries", the winds crash into each
other between the stars and some of this power is dissipated, leading to shocks, heating of the winds,
strong X-ray emission, particle acceleration and sometimes even the formation of clouds of carbon dust
if one of the stars is a WC-type Wolf-Rayet star.
If the two stars are in an elliptical orbit, the strength of the wind collision will vary round the
orbit, being most intense when the stars are closest, i.e. during periastron passage. The most recent
periastron passage in the prototype, WR 140 (= HD 193793), occurred in early 2009, stimulating
an intensive multi-wavelength observing campaign to study colliding-wind phenomena. Some
results from the campaign
were reported in July 2010 at the 39th Liège International Astrophysical Colloquium
"The multi-wavelength view of Hot Massive Stars"
The next periastron passage is due at the end of 2016 and observing time is already being sought to
study the system as its configuration changes rapidly on account of the high orbital eccentricity.
Dates of critical configurations based on
the definitive orbit are given below, where
f is the true anomaly, ψ is the angle between our line of sight and the axis joining the
WC7 and O5 stars (which would be the axis of symmetry of the wind-collision region in the absence of
orbital motion), P.A. is the position angle of this axis on the sky and r/a is the separation of the stars.
Critical configurations of WR 140 in 2016-17
||conjunction: WC star behind
||conjunction: O star behind
Expected IR magnitudes of WR 140 for planning observations
||2016 Dec 4
||2017 Feb 14
Publications: links from the SAO/NASA ADS to most of my publications, together with a few interlopers
1. Select bibliography (First-author papers, ordered by citation score)
2. Fuller bibliography (All sorts, ordered by date, from most recent)
|| Institute for Astronomy
email: pmw [at] roe.ac.uk
phone: (0) 131-668-8399