3-D SPH simulations of colliding winds in eta Carinae

Okazaki, Atsuo T.
Owocki, Stanley P.
Russell, Christopher M. P.
Corcoran, Michael F.
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We study colliding winds in the superluminous binary eta Carinae by performing three-dimensional, Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) simulations. For simplicity, we assume both winds to be isothermal. We also assume that wind particles coast without any net external forces. We find that the lower density, faster wind from the secondary carves out a spiral cavity in the higher density, slower wind from the primary. Because of the phase-dependent orbital motion, the cavity is very thin on the periastron side, whereas it occupies a large volume on the apastron side. The model X-ray light curve using the simulated density structure fits very well with the observed light curve for a viewing angle of i=54 degrees and phi=36 degrees, where i is the inclination angle and phi is the azimuth from apastron.
Comment: 6 pages, 3 figures, To be published in Proceedings of IAU Symposium 250: Massive Stars as Cosmic Engines, held in Kauai, Hawaii, USA, Dec 2007, edited by F. Bresolin, P.A. Crowther & J. Puls (Cambridge University Press)