Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Francis Wilkin




star, wind, shock, speed, equations, systems


Stars lose mass in the form of supersonic winds. In a binary star system, these winds collide to produce shockwaves. Such stellar wind collisions are observed in many binary star systems. Due to the orbital motion of the system, a trailing spiral structure is produced. We present a solution method in the co- rotating frame of the stars, which allows us to consider steady state solutions. This requires the inclusion of Coriolis and centrifugal forces, including their effects on the pre-shock winds, for which we were restricted to orbital speed slower than wind speeds. We assume efficient post-shock cooling, which al- lows us to consider a geometrically thin shell. A set of four ordinary differential equations (ODEs) ensure the conservation of mass and momentum within the shell. It was necessary to develop Taylor series expansions to find self- consistent values that allow for integration of the equations out of the initial singularity. Numerical integration of the equations yields the shell shape. The solution generalizes the analytic solution of Canto, Raga & Wilkin (1996) to include orbital motion. We further generalize our solution for systems with unequal wind speeds. Systems with unequal wind speeds, but equal wind momentum, produce an asymmetry in the shell that is non-existent for equal wind speeds.

Available for download on Friday, June 15, 2018

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