The dominant X-ray wind in massive star binaries

JM Pittard, Ian Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate which shocked wind is responsible for the majority of the X-ray emission in colliding wind binaries, an issue where there is some confusion in the literature, and which we show is more complicated than has been assumed. We find that where both winds rapidly cool (typically close binaries), the ratio of the wind speeds is often more important than the momentum ratio, because it controls the energy flux ratio, and the faster wind is generally the dominant emitter. When both winds are largely adiabatic (typically long-period binaries), the slower and denser wind will cool faster and the stronger wind generally dominates the X-ray luminosity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L20-L23
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


  • stars : Wolf-Rayet
  • stars : binaries : general
  • stars : early-type
  • X-rays : stars


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