Narrow radiative recombination continua: A Signature of ions crossing the contact discontinuity of astrophysical shocks

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dc.contributor.author Nordon, Raanan
dc.contributor.author Behar, Ehud
dc.contributor.author Soker, Noam
dc.contributor.author Kastner, Joel
dc.contributor.author Yu, Young Sam
dc.date.accessioned 2009-02-23T15:50:11Z
dc.date.available 2009-02-23T15:50:11Z
dc.date.issued 2009
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1850/8456
dc.description Accepted by the Astrophysical Journal. Also archived in: arXiv:0901.1039v1 [astro-ph.HE] en_US
dc.description.abstract X-rays from planetary nebulae (PNs) are believed to originate from a shock driven into the fast stellar wind (v ~ 1000 km/s) as it collides with an earlier circumstellar slow wind (v ~ 10 km/s). In theory, the shocked fast wind (hot bubble) and the ambient cold nebula can remain separated by magnetic fields along a surface referred to as the contact discontinuity (CD) that inhibits diffusion and heat conduction. The CD region is extremely difficult to probe directly owing to its small size and faint emission. This has largely left the study of CDs, stellar-shocks, and the associated micro-physics in the realm of theory. This paper presents spectroscopic evidence for ions from the hot bubble (kT ~ 100 eV) crossing the CD and penetrating the cold nebular gas (kT ~ 1 eV). Specifically, a narrow radiative recombination continuum (RRC) emission feature is identified in the high resolution X-ray spectrum of the PN BD+30 3639 indicating bare C VII ions are recombining with cool electrons at kT_e=1.7+-1.3 eV. An upper limit to the flux of the narrow RRC of H-like C VI is obtained as well. The RRCs are interpreted as due to C ions from the hot bubble of BD+30 3639 crossing the CD into the cold nebula, where they ultimately recombine with its cool electrons. The RRC flux ratio of C VII to C VI constrains the temperature jump across the CD to Delta kT > 80 eV, providing for the first time direct evidence for the stark temperature disparity between the two sides of an astrophysical CD, and constraining the role of magnetic fields and heat conduction accordingly. Two colliding-wind binaries are noted to have similar RRCs suggesting a temperature jump and CD crossing by ions may be a common feature of stellar wind shocks. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher The Astrophysical Journal en_US
dc.subject Planetary nebulae: individual: BD+30◦3639 – stars en_US
dc.subject Winds – stars en_US
dc.subject Wolf-Rayet – X-rays en_US
dc.title Narrow radiative recombination continua: A Signature of ions crossing the contact discontinuity of astrophysical shocks en_US
dc.type Preprint en_US

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