Universiteit Leiden

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Casting light on the ƞ Carinae puzzle

Promotor: Prof.dr. V. Icke, Co-Promotor: T.I. Madura

N. Clementel
18 december 2014
Thesis in Leiden Repository

Eta Carinae is one of the most massive and luminous binary systems known. Due to their luminosity both stars posses powerful stellar winds. These winds collide and the combination of their strength and the orbital motion determines the 3D structure of the gas. The interaction of the ionizing photons emitted by the stars with the gas is the topic of this thesis. We use the SimpleX algorithm for radiative transfer to post process hydrodynamic simulations of the wind interaction in Eta Carinae. We show that SimpleX is suitable to investigate the ionization structure of colliding wind binaries. Knowing where the gas is ionized allows us to identify the areas where observed emission and absorption lines might form. This has important implications for several properties of the system, such as the line of sight and the physical parameters of the stars, such as the temperature or mass-loss rate. We also printed 3D models of the interaction region of the two winds and investigated the usage of 3D interactive figures in scientific publications. These tools not only allow for better visualization and understanding of the system, but are also of great help when presenting complex simulation results to non experts.