The condition in which a physical system is capable of assuming either of two stable states.
Fr.: bistabilité par saut
An abrupt discontinuity in the → stellar wind properties of → hot stars near → effective temperatures about 21,000 K and 10,000 K, corresponding to O9.5-B3 supergiants (Castor et al. 1975, ApJ 195, 157; Lamers et al., 1995, ApJ 455, 269). At these temperatures the → terminal velocity of the wind drops steeply by about a factor two and the → mass loss rate increases steeply by about a factor three to five, when going from high to low temperatures. Bistability jump is related to the degree of ionization in the wind. With a little drop in the temperature, the dominant driving element (Fe) will recombine to lower ionization stages which produces a lower terminal velocity and a relatively high density in the wind. → wind momentum. Additional bistability jumps may occur at higher temperatures where CNO may provide the dominant line driving, especially for low metallicity stars (Vink et al. 2001, A&A 369, 574). However, a recent study using a larger sample finds that there is a gradual decline in the wind terminal velocities of early B supergiants and not a "jump" (Crowther et al. 2006, A&A 446, 279).
Fr.: mécanisme de bistabilité
The mechanism that accounts for the → bistability jump.