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Title: Dissecting the microphysics behind the metallicity-dependence of massive stars radii

Understanding the radii of massive stars throughout their evolution is important to answering numerous questions about stellar physics, from binary interactions on the main sequence to the pre-supernova radii. One important factor determining a star’s radius is the fraction of its mass in elements heavier than Helium (metallicity, Z). However, the metallicity enters stellar evolution through several distinct microphysical processes, and which dominates can change throughout stellar evolution and with the overall magnitude of Z. We perform a series of numerical experiments with 15 $\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$mesa models computed doubling separately the metallicity entering the radiative opacity, the equation of state, and the nuclear reaction network to isolate the impact of each on stellar radii. We explore separately models centred around two metallicity values: one near solar Z = 0.02 and another sub-solar Z ∼ 10−3, and consider several key epochs from the end of the main sequence to core carbon depletion. We find that the metallicity entering the opacity dominates at most epochs for the solar metallicity models, contributing to on average ∼60–90 per cent of the total change in stellar radius. Nuclear reactions have a larger impact (∼50–70 per cent) during most epochs in the subsolar Z models. The methodology introduced here can be employed more generally to propagate known microphysics errors into uncertainties on macrophysical observables including stellar radii.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 5816-5831
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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