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Title: Wide post-common envelope binaries containing ultramassive white dwarfs: evidence for efficient envelope ejection in massive asymptotic giant branch stars

Post-common envelope binaries (PCEBs) containing a white dwarf (WD) and a main-sequence (MS) star can constrain the physics of common envelope evolution and calibrate binary evolution models. Most PCEBs studied to date have short orbital periods (Porb ≲ 1 d), implying relatively inefficient harnessing of binaries’ orbital energy for envelope expulsion. Here, we present follow-up observations of five binaries from 3rd data release of Gaia mission containing solar-type MS stars and probable ultramassive WDs ($M\gtrsim 1.2\ {\rm M}_{\odot}$) with significantly wider orbits than previously known PCEBs, Porb = 18–49 d. The WD masses are much higher than expected for systems formed via stable mass transfer at these periods, and their near-circular orbits suggest partial tidal circularization when the WD progenitors were giants. These properties strongly suggest that the binaries are PCEBs. Forming PCEBs at such wide separations requires highly efficient envelope ejection, and we find that the observed periods can only be explained if a significant fraction of the energy released when the envelope recombines goes into ejecting it. Our one-dimensional stellar models including recombination energy confirm prior predictions that a wide range of PCEB orbital periods, extending up to months or years, can potentially result from Roche lobe overflow of a luminous asymptotic giant branch (AGB) star. This evolutionary scenario may also explain the formation of several wide WD + MS binaries discovered via self-lensing, as well as a significant fraction of post-AGB binaries and barium stars.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Medium: X Size: p. 11719-11739
["p. 11719-11739"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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