Continuum driven winds from rotating stars – on the Formation of the Homunculus Nebula and Skirt, and the Spin Evolution of eta-Carinae
August 15, 2012
Abstract: We study the dynamics of continuum driven winds from rotating stars, and develop an approximate analytical model. We then discuss the evolution of stellar angular momentum, and show that just above the Eddington limit, the winds are sufficiently concentrated towards the poles to spin up the star. A twin-lobe structure of the ejected nebula is seen to be a generic consequence of critical rotation. We find that if the pressure in such stars is sufficiently dominated by radiation, an equatorial ejection of mass will occur during eruptions. These results are then applied to eta-Carinae. We show that if it began its life with a high enough angular momentum, the present day wind could have driven the star towards critical rotation, if it is the dominant mode of mass loss. We find that the shape and size of the Homunculus nebula, as given by our model, agree with recent observations. Moreover, the contraction expected due to the sudden increase in luminosity at the onset of the Great Eruption explains the equatorial “skirt” as well.