Magnetically confined wind shocks in X-rays – A review

Asif ud-Doula, Yaël Nazé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


A subset (∼10%) of massive stars present strong, globally ordered (mostly dipolar) magnetic fields. The trapping and channeling of their stellar winds in closed magnetic loops leads to magnetically confined wind shocks (MCWS), with pre-shock flow speeds that are some fraction of the wind terminal speed. These shocks generate hot plasma, a source of X-rays. In the last decade, several developments took place, notably the determination of the hot plasma properties for a large sample of objects using XMM and Chandra, as well as fully self-consistent MHD modeling and the identification of shock retreat effects in weak winds. Despite a few exceptions, the combination of magnetic confinement, shock retreat and rotation effects seems to be able to account for X-ray emission in massive OB stars. Here we review these new observational and theoretical aspects of this X-ray emission and envisage some perspectives for the next generation of X-ray observatories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)680-693
Number of pages14
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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