Accretion at the periastron passage of Eta Carinae

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We present high-resolution numerical simulations of the colliding wind system η Carinae, showing accretion on to the secondary star close to periastron passage. Our hydrodynamical simulations include self-gravity and radiative cooling. The smooth stellar winds collide and develop instabilities, mainly the non-linear thin shell instability, and form filaments and clumps. We find that a few days before periastron passage the dense filaments and clumps flow towards the secondary as a result of its gravitational attraction, and reach the zone where we inject the secondary wind. We run our simulations for the conventional stellar masses, M1 = 120M and M2 = 30M, and for a high mass model, M1 = 170M and M2 = 80M, that was proposed to better fit the history of giant eruptions. As expected, the simulations results show that the accretion processes are more pronounced for a more massive secondary star.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-782
Number of pages8
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Accretion
  • Accretion discs
  • Binaries: general
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Outflows
  • Stars: individual: (η Car)
  • Stars: winds


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