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To Binary or Not to Binary:An Analysis of WR 71’s Polarized Line Profiles

Presentation #136.07 in the session “Massive Stars in Colliding Wind Binaries”.

Published onJan 11, 2021
To Binary or Not to Binary:An Analysis of WR 71’s Polarized Line Profiles

Massive Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars in binary systems may produce supernovae capable of emitting long duration gamma ray bursts. Characterizing the structure of the colliding winds in these systems may help constrain the mass loss and transfer properties and help predict their future evolution. I will present new spectropolarimetric data for the possible WR+O binary system WR 71, collected using RSS at the Southern African Large Telescope. WR 71 is a WN6 whose binary status is unknown, but it displays similar spectropolarimetric variations to the known WR+O binary system V444 Cygni. I investigate the orbital and rotational velocity of WR 71’s winds by analyzing its polarized emission line profiles as a function of phase, the first analysis of its kind. I compare the line polarization behavior with predictive models of both colliding wind binaries and single stars with co-rotating interaction regions. Describing the wind structure of WR 71 will help determine the rate of mass loss from the system, an important indicator for LGRB progenitors, and shed light on its binary status.


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