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The Wolf’s Bite: An Examination Into The Shapes Of Colliding Wind Regions In WR Binary Star Systems

WR stars, a type of evolved star, that are in binaries with very large main sequence stars are thought to be the cause of the catastrophic cosmic gamma-ray burst (GRB) events, where the highest form of energy is emitted from an explosion following the end of these stars lives. This explosion can depend on how much mass is being lost by the object, which can be discovered by examining the gases between the two stars in the binary,and how much their light is polarized.That is the goal of this project, where I examined the object WR21 in great detail. I did this byvusing data our research team had collected from the RSS Spectropolarimeter located at the SALTobservatory in South Africa. Then, using the coding program Python, I was able to examine the polarization of different lines throughout the orbital period that showed up in the spectrum(corresponding to what elements were present). I was able to see how these emission lines behaved differently, particularly a new line we began examining, C IV. From this, further analysis can be conducted to examine if the mass loss of this particular object is enough for it to be a GRB progenitor.