skip to main content


Title: The thermodynamics of stellar multiplicity: an analytic model for the dynamical evolution of binary star populations in dense stellar environments due to single–binary interactions
ABSTRACT

We recently derived, using the density-of-states approximation, analytic distribution functions for the outcomes of direct single-binary scatterings. Using these outcome distribution functions, we present in this paper a self-consistent statistical mechanics-based analytic model obtained using the Fokker–Planck limit of the Boltzmann equation. Our model quantifies the dominant gravitational physics, combining both strong and weak single–binary interactions, which drives the time evolution of binary orbital parameter distributions in dense stellar environments. We focus in particular the distributions of binary orbital energies and eccentricities. We find a novel steady-state distribution of binary eccentricities, featuring strong depletions of both the highest and the lowest eccentricity binaries. In energy space, we compare the predictions of our analytic model to the results of numerical N-body simulations, and find that the agreement is good for the initial conditions considered here. This work is a first step towards the development of a fully self-consistent semi-analytic model for dynamically evolving binary star populations in dense stellar environments due to direct few-body interactions.

 
more » « less
NSF-PAR ID:
10377638
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume:
517
Issue:
3
ISSN:
0035-8711
Format(s):
Medium: X Size: p. 3838-3853
Size(s):
p. 3838-3853
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We present updated orbital elements for the Wolf–Rayet (WR) binary WR 140 (HD 193793; WC7pd  + O5.5fc). The new orbital elements were derived using previously published measurements along with 160 new radial velocity measurements across the 2016 periastron passage of WR 140. Additionally, four new measurements of the orbital astrometry were collected with the CHARA Array. With these measurements, we derive stellar masses of $M_{\rm WR} = 10.31\pm 0.45 \, \mathrm{M}_\odot$ and $M_{\rm O} = 29.27\pm 1.14 \, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$. We also include a discussion of the evolutionary history of this system from the Binary Population and Spectral Synthesis model grid to show that this WR star likely formed primarily through mass-loss in the stellar winds, with only a moderate amount of mass lost or transferred through binary interactions. 
    more » « less
  2. ABSTRACT At least $70\, {\rm per\, cent}$ of massive OBA-type stars reside in binary or higher order systems. The dynamical evolution of these systems can lend insight into the origins of extreme phenomena such as X-ray binaries and gravitational wave sources. In one such dynamical process, the Eccentric Kozai–Lidov (EKL) mechanism, a third companion star alters the secular evolution of a binary system. For dynamical stability, these triple systems must have a hierarchical configuration. We explore the effects of a distant third companion’s gravitational perturbations on a massive binary’s orbital configuration before significant stellar evolution has taken place (≤10 Myr). We include tidal dissipation and general relativistic precession. With large (38 000 total) Monte Carlo realizations of massive hierarchical triples, we characterize imprints of the birth conditions on the final orbital distributions. Specifically, we find that the final eccentricity distribution over the range of 0.1–0.7 is an excellent indicator of its birth distribution. Furthermore, we find that the period distributions have a similar mapping for wide orbits. Finally, we demonstrate that the observed period distribution for approximately 10-Myr-old massive stars is consistent with EKL evolution. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    The theory of stellar escape from globular clusters (GCs) dates back nearly a century, especially the gradual evaporation of GCs via two-body relaxation coupled with external tides. More violent ejection can also occur via strong gravitational scattering, supernovae, gravitational wave-driven mergers, tidal disruption events, and physical collisions, but comprehensive study of the many escape mechanisms has been limited. Recent exquisite kinematic data from the Gaia space telescope has revealed numerous stellar streams in the Milky Way (MW) and traced the origin of many to specific MWGCs, highlighting the need for further examination of stellar escape from these clusters. In this study, the first of a series, we lay the groundwork for detailed follow-up comparisons between Cluster Monte Carlo GC models and the latest Gaia data on the outskirts of MWGCs, their tidal tails, and associated streams. We thoroughly review escape mechanisms from GCs and examine their relative contributions to the escape rate, ejection velocities, and escaper demographics. We show for the first time that three-body binary formation may dominate high-speed ejection from typical MWGCs, potentially explaining some of the hypervelocity stars in the MW. Due to their mass, black holes strongly catalyze this process, and their loss at the onset of observable core collapse, characterized by a steep central brightness profile, dramatically curtails three-body binary formation, despite the increased post-collapse density. We also demonstrate that even when born from a thermal eccentricity distribution, escaping binaries have significantly nonthermal eccentricities consistent with the roughly uniform distribution observed in the Galactic field.

     
    more » « less
  4. Interacting binaries are of general interest as laboratories for investigating the physics of accretion, which gives rise to the bulk of high-energy radiation in the Galaxy. They allow us to probe stellar evolution processes that cannot be studied in single stars. Understanding the orbital evolution of binaries is essential in order to model the formation of compact binaries. Here we focus our attention on studying orbital evolution driven by angular momentum loss through stellar winds in massive binaries. We run a suite of hydrodynamical simulations of binary stars hosting one mass losing star with varying wind velocity, mass ratio, wind velocity profile and adiabatic index, and compare our results to analytic estimates for drag and angular momentum loss. We find that, at leading order, orbital evolution is determined by the wind velocity and the binary mass ratio. Small ratios of wind to orbital velocities and large accreting companion masses result in high angular momentum loss and a shrinking of the orbit. For wider binaries and binaries hosting lighter mass-capturing companions, the wind mass-loss becomes more symmetric, which results in a widening of the orbit. We present a simple analytic formula that can accurately account for angular momentum losses and changes in the orbit, which depends on the wind velocity and mass ratio. As an example of our formalism, we compare the effects of tides and winds in driving the orbital evolution of high mass X-ray binaries, focusing on Vela X-1 and Cygnus X-1 as examples. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract Orbital eccentricity is one of the most robust discriminators for distinguishing between dynamical and isolated formation scenarios of binary black hole mergers using gravitational-wave observatories such as LIGO and Virgo. Using state-of-the-art cluster models, we show how selection effects impact the detectable distribution of eccentric mergers from clusters. We show that the observation (or lack thereof) of eccentric binary black hole mergers can significantly constrain the fraction of detectable systems that originate from dynamical environments, such as dense star clusters. After roughly 150 observations, observing no eccentric binary signals would indicate that clusters cannot make up the majority of the merging binary black hole population in the local universe (95% credibility). However, if dense star clusters dominate the rate of eccentric mergers and a single system is confirmed to be measurably eccentric in the first and second gravitational-wave transient catalogs, clusters must account for at least 14% of detectable binary black hole mergers. The constraints on the fraction of detectable systems from dense star clusters become significantly tighter as the number of eccentric observations grows and will be constrained to within 0.5 dex once 10 eccentric binary black holes are observed. 
    more » « less