Particle acceleration in colliding winds binary systems

Moira Mary Jardine, HR Allen, AMT Pollock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


We present a new model for the particle acceleration believed to power the synchrotron emission observed in some Wolf-Rayet binaries. Particles are accelerated in a current sheet formed when the magnetic fields carried in the winds of the two stars are forced together as the winds collide. By modelling this current sheet we are able to determine, for a given magnetic field strength at the stellar surface, the speed to which particles will be accelerated over a given distance. We show that the observed GHz emission could be produced in systems with surface field strengths of only a few Gauss, in contrast to models of shock acceleration which require surface fields of some hundreds to thousands of Gauss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-598
Number of pages5
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1996


  • acceleration of particles
  • stars, magnetic fields
  • stars, Wolf Rayet
  • stars, binaries, close


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