Reference : A mutliwavelength observational study of the non-thermal emission from O-type stars.
Dissertations and theses : Doctoral thesis
Physical, chemical, mathematical & earth Sciences : Space science, astronomy & astrophysics
A mutliwavelength observational study of the non-thermal emission from O-type stars.
[en] Une étude multi-longueurs d'onde observationnelle de l'émission non-thermique d'étoiles de type O.
De Becker, Michaël mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département d'astrophys., géophysique et océanographie (AGO) > Département d'astrophys., géophysique et océanographie (AGO) >]
Université de Liège, ​Liège, ​​Belgium
Doctorat en Sciences
Rauw, Grégor
[en] O-type stars ; Non-thermal emission processes ; Particle acceleration ; X-rays ; Binary stars ; Stellar spectroscopy
[en] The present work is devoted to an observational multiwavelength study of the non-thermal emission of O-type stars. The non-thermal radio emission is believed to be synchrotron radiation, therefore requiring the existence of a magnetic field as well as of a population of relativistic electrons. The physical circumstances responsible for the acceleration of electrons up to relativistic velocities are not yet completely elucidated, but such an acceleration most probably occurs through the first order Fermi mechanism in the presence of hydrodynamic shocks, also called the Diffusive Shock Acceleration (DSA) mechanism. In the context of massive stars, the shocks responsible for this acceleration process may be intrinsic to their stellar winds, or arise from the collision between stellar winds in binary systems. In addition, the existence of non-thermal emission processes such as inverse Compton scattering suggests the possibility to detect a high-energy counterpart to the non-thermal emission observed in the radio domain. The objectives of this work are to (1) study the impact of the multiplicity on the non-thermal emission, (2) investigate the issue of the non-thermal emission of massive stars in the high-energy domain, and (3) discuss the possibility to constrain physical quantities such as the magnetic field strength through the study of these non-thermal emission processes.

We investigate in detail several non-thermal emitting O-type stars, namely HD168112, HD167971, Cyg OB2 #8A, Cyg OB2 #9, and HD15558. For most of these targets, high quality XMM-Newton data are used in order to study their X-ray properties. In most case, the question of the multiplicity is also addressed through optical studies performed on the basis of data obtained with ground-based telescopes. The most intensive study is carried out on the Cyg OB2 region, for which we also obtained and analysed INTEGRAL data, in order to investigate the possible relation between the massive stars in Cyg OB2 and the unidentified EGRET source 3EG J2033+4118. In addition, high quality XMM-Newton data of the close massive binary HD159176 are also studied. Even though this latter target does not belong to the category of non-thermal radio emitters, its study unexpectedly turns out to be crucial in the context of this campaign as it might be the first O + O system likely to be classified as an n! on-thermal X-ray emitter.

Considering our observational results, along with results from radio observations mainly coordinated by colleagues from the Royal Observatory of Belgium, we propose a general qualitative schematic view of the non-thermal emission from massive stars. First, it seems that the multiplicity plays a crucial role in the non-thermal emission processes. Second, we have found that the simultaneous detection of non-thermal radiation in the radio and X-ray (below 10.0 keV) domains is unlikely. Non-thermal radio emitters are indeed most probably binaries with periods longer than a few weeks, whilst only close binaries with periods of at most a few days may be non-thermal emitters in the soft X-ray domain. However, such a simultaneous detection is possible if the very hard X-rays or soft gamma-rays are considered, i.e. in a domain where the thermal emission from the colliding winds does not overwhelm the non-thermal emission. Moreover, it appears that the existence of non-thermal X-ray emitters without a non-thermal radio counterpart should be envisaged. Finally, the simultaneous detection of radio and high-energy non-thermal emissions is likely to lead to an indirect method to estimate the local magnetic field strength in the colliding-wind region of massive binaries.
Researchers ; Professionals

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