2019 article

Wolf-Rayet stars in young massive star clusters as potential sources of Galactic cosmic rays


Source: Web Of Science
Added: September 14, 2020

For most elements, the isotopic ratios seen in cosmic rays (CRs) are similar to those in the solar wind. The most important exception to this is $^{22}$Ne/$^{20}$Ne where the CR value is $\sim 5$ times that of the solar wind. According to most recent models of nucleosynthesis, a large amount of $^{22}\mathrm{Ne}$ is generated in Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars. In the winds of carbon sequence WR stars, i.e., WC stars, the isotopic ratio $^{22}\mathrm{Ne}$/$^{20}\mathrm{Ne}$ can be much larger than in the solar wind. Here, we consider CRs produced by $^{22}\mathrm{Ne}$-enriched WR winds in compact clusters of young massive stars like Westerlund~1. We assume that efficient CR acceleration in clusters occurs over the WR lifetime in an ensemble of shock waves from multiple massive star winds. We estimate the fraction of all Galactic CRs such sources may produce for a given set of parameters.