Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 459, 1146-1158 (2016/June-3)
On the observability of bow shocks of Galactic runaway OB stars.
MEYER D.M.-A., VAN MARLE A.-J., KUIPER R. and KLEY W.
Abstract (from CDS):
Massive stars that have been ejected from their parent cluster and supersonically sailing away through the interstellar medium (ISM) are classified as exiled. They generate circumstellar bow-shock nebulae that can be observed. We present two-dimensional, axisymmetric hydrodynamical simulations of a representative sample of stellar wind bow shocks from Galactic OB stars in an ambient medium of densities ranging from nISM=0.01 up to 10.0 cm^- 3^. Independently of their location in the Galaxy, we confirm that the infrared is the most appropriated waveband to search for bow shocks from massive stars. Their spectral energy distribution is the convenient tool to analyse them since their emission does not depend on the temporary effects which could affect unstable, thin-shelled bow shocks. Our numerical models of Galactic bow shocks generated by high-mass ( ≃ 40 M☉) runaway stars yield H α fluxes which could be observed by facilities such as the SuperCOSMOS H-Alpha Survey. The brightest bow-shock nebulae are produced in the denser regions of the ISM. We predict that bow shocks in the field observed at H α by means of Rayleigh-sensitive facilities are formed around stars of initial mass larger than about 20 M☉. Our models of bow shocks from OB stars have the emission maximum in the wavelength range 3 <= λ <= 50 µm which can be up to several orders of magnitude brighter than the runaway stars themselves, particularly for stars of initial mass larger than 20 M☉.