Revealing the Structure of Wolf-Rayet Binary Systems: WR47 and WR62a
Wolf-Rayet stars are massive highly luminous stars with incredibly strong winds. These stars often occur in binary systems with main sequence O-type stars. The interaction between the WR and O-type stars creates conic wind collision regions that rotate with the binary system. Using polarimetry to measure the polarization of the light from these stars can provide insight into how these winds interact, their shape and orientation, and what they're made of. Comparison of the polarization behavior of strong emission lines with one another and with the continuum helps determine where the lines arise and scatter within each system. The specific stars I focused on are WR47 and WR62a. I found polarimetric evidence for non-axisymmetric colliding winds in each system and derived some system parameters including their orientations on the sky and the opening angle of the shock cone in WR47. The two systems behave differently from one another and from V444 Cyg, a well studied WR+O binary of similar type.