The theory of stellar winds

Jorick S. Vink

Armagh Observatory

We present a brief overview of the theory of stellar winds with a strong emphasis on the radiation-driven outflows from massive stars. The resulting implications for the evolution and fate of massive stars are also discussed. Furthermore, we relate the effects of mass loss to the angular momentum evolution, which is particularly relevant for the production of long and soft gamma-ray bursts. Mass-loss rates are not only a function of the metallicity, but are also found to depend on temperature, particularly in the region of the bi-stability jump at 21 000 Kelvin. We highlight the role of the bi-stability jump for Luminous Blue Variable (LBV) stars, and discuss suggestions that LBVs might be direct progenitors of supernovae. We emphasize that radiation-driven wind studies rely heavily on the input opacity data and linelists, and that these are thus of fundamental importance to both the mass-loss predictions themselves, as well as to our overall understanding of the lives and deaths of massive stars.

Reference: Astrophysics and Space Science, Vol 336, Issue 1, pp. 163-167 (special HEDLA 2010 Issue)
Status: Conference proceedings