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Towards a Unified View of Inhomogeneous Stellar Winds in Isolated Supergiant Stars and Supergiant High Mass X-Ray Binaries

Martínez-Núñez, Silvia and Kretschmar, Peter and Bozzo, Enrico and Oskinova, Lidia M. and Puls, Joachim and Sidoli, Lara and Sundqvist, Jon Olof and Blay, Pere and Falanga, Maurizio and Fürst, Felix and Gímenez-García, Angel and Kreykenbohm, Ingo and Kühnel, Matthias and Sander, Andreas and Torrejón, José Miguel and Wilms, Jörn (2017) Towards a Unified View of Inhomogeneous Stellar Winds in Isolated Supergiant Stars and Supergiant High Mass X-Ray Binaries. Space Science Reviews, 212 (1-2). pp. 59-150. ISSN 0038-6308.

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Massive stars, at least ∼10 times more massive than the Sun, have two key properties that make them the main drivers of evolution of star clusters, galaxies, and the Universe as a whole. On the one hand, the outer layers of massive stars are so hot that they produce most of the ionizing ultraviolet radiation of galaxies; in fact, the first massive stars helped to re-ionize the Universe after its Dark Ages. Another important property of massive stars are the strong stellar winds and outflows they produce. This mass loss, and finally the explosion of a massive star as a supernova or a gamma-ray burst, provide a significant input of mechanical and radiative energy into the interstellar space. These two properties together make massive stars one of the most important cosmic engines: they trigger the star formation and enrich the interstellar medium with heavy elements, that ultimately leads to formation of Earth-like rocky planets and the development of complex life. The study of massive star winds is thus a truly multidisciplinary field and has a wide impact on different areas of astronomy. In recent years observational and theoretical evidences have been growing that these winds are not smooth and homogeneous as previously assumed, but rather populated by dense “clumps”. The presence of these structures dramatically affects the mass loss rates derived from the study of stellar winds. Clump properties in isolated stars are nowadays inferred mostly through indirect methods (i.e., spectroscopic observations of line profiles in various wavelength regimes, and their analysis based on tailored, inhomogeneous wind models). The limited characterization of the clump physical properties (mass, size) obtained so far have led to large uncertainties in the mass loss rates from massive stars. Such uncertainties limit our understanding of the role of massive star winds in galactic and cosmic evolution. Supergiant high mass X-ray binaries (SgXBs) are among the brightest X-ray sources in the sky. A large number of them consist of a neutron star accreting from the wind of a massive companion and producing a powerful X-ray source. The characteristics of the stellar wind together with the complex interactions between the compact object and the donor star determine the observed X-ray output from all these systems. Consequently, the use of SgXBs for studies of massive stars is only possible when the physics of the stellar winds, the compact objects, and accretion mechanisms are combined together and confronted with observations. This detailed review summarises the current knowledge on the theory and observations of winds from massive stars, as well as on observations and accretion processes in wind-fed high mass X-ray binaries. The aim is to combine in the near future all available theoretical diagnostics and observational measurements to achieve a unified picture of massive star winds in isolated objects and in binary systems.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access Paper
Kretschmar, Peter0000-0001-9840-2048
Sidoli, Lara0000-0001-9705-2883
Blay, Pere0000-0003-2018-1059
Fürst, Felix0000-0003-0388-0560
Kreykenbohm, Ingo0000-0001-7335-1803
Wilms, Jörn0000-0003-2065-5410
Additional Information:© 2017 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Received: 4 March 2016. Accepted: 12 February 2017. First Online: 07 March 2017. We are grateful to the two anonymous referees for carefully reviewing such a large and detailed piece of work and for providing very useful comments, which have allowed us to improve this paper. SMN acknowledges the support of the Spanish Unemployment Agency, which allowed her to continue her scientific collaborations while being temporarily unemployed during the critical situation of the Spanish Research System until March 2016. SMN acknowledges support by research project ESP2016-76683-C3-1-R. LS acknowledges the Italian Space Agency financial support INTEGRAL ASI/INAF agreement n. 2013-025.R.0, and the grant from PRIN-INAF 2014, “Towards a unified picture of accretion in High Mass X-Ray Binaries” (PI: Sidoli). AGG acknowledges support by Spanish MICINN under FPI Fellowship BES-2011-050874 and the Vicerectorat d’Investigació, Desenvolupament i Innovació de la Universitat d’Alacant under project GRE12-35. IK, MK, and JW are supported by the Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie under grant number 50OR1207 of the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt. MK also acknowledges support by the Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie under Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt grant 50OR1113. AS is supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) under grant HA 1455/26. JMT acknowledges research grants ESP2013-48637-C2-2P and ESP2014-53672-C3-3-P. This publication was motivated by a team meeting sponsored by the International Space Science Institute at Bern, Switzerland.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Servicio Público de Empleo EstatalUNSPECIFIED
Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MICINN)ESP2016-76683-C3-1-R
Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI)2013-025-R.0
Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF)PRIN-INAF 2014
Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MICINN)BES-2011-050874
Vicerectorat d’Investigació, Desenvolupament i Innovació de la Universitat d’AlacantGRE12-35
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)50OR1207
Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie (BMWi)50OR1113
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)HA 1455/26
Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MICINN)ESP2013-48637-C2-2P
Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MICINN)ESP2014-53672-C3-3-P
Subject Keywords:Massive stars; Stellar outflows; X-ray binary; Wind-fed systems; Accretion processes; SgXBs; SFXTs
Issue or Number:1-2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170616-080034805
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Martínez-Núñez, S., Kretschmar, P., Bozzo, E. et al. Space Sci Rev (2017) 212: 59.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:78261
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:16 Jun 2017 16:23
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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