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  1. Abstract

    Regular, automated testing is a foundational principle of modern software development. Numerous widely used continuous integration systems exist, but they are often not suitable for the unique needs of scientific simulation software. Here we describe the testing infrastructure developed for and used by the Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (MESA) project. This system allows the computationally demanding MESA test suite to be regularly run on a heterogeneous set of computers and aggregates and displays the testing results in a form that allows for the rapid identification and diagnosis of regressions. Regularly collecting comprehensive testing data also enables longitudinal studies of the performance of the software and the properties of the models it generates.

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    Blue large-amplitude pulsators (BLAPs) make up a rare class of hot pulsating stars with effective temperatures of ≈30 000 K and surface gravities of 4.0–5.0 dex (cgs). The evolutionary origin and current status of BLAPs is not well understood, largely based on a lack of spectroscopic observations and no available mass constraints. However, several theoretical models have been proposed that reproduce their observed properties, including studies that identify them as pulsating helium-core pre-white dwarfs (He-core pre-WDs). We present here follow-up high-speed photometry and phase-resolved spectroscopy of one of the original 14 BLAPs, OGLE-BLAP-009, discovered during the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment. We aim to explore its pulsation characteristics and determine stellar properties such as mass and radius in order to test the consistency of these results with He-core pre-WD models. Using the mean atmospheric parameters found using spectroscopy, we fit a spectral energy distribution to obtain a preliminary estimate of the radius, luminosity, and mass by making use of the Gaia parallax. We then compare the consistency of these results to He-core pre-WD models generated using Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics, with predicted pulsation periods implemented using gyre. We find that our mass constraints are in agreement with a low-mass He-core pre-WD of ≈0.30 M⊙.

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    We present a detailed modelling study of CD-30°11223 (CD-30), a hot subdwarf (sdB)-white dwarf (WD) binary identified as a double detonation supernova progenitor, using the open-source stellar evolution software MESA. We focus on implementing binary evolution models carefully tuned to match the observed characteristics of the system including log g and Teff. For the first time, we account for the structure of the hydrogen envelope throughout the modelling, and find that the inclusion of element diffusion is important for matching the observed radius and temperature. We investigate the two sdB mass solutions (0.47 and 0.54 M⊙) previously proposed for this system, strongly favouring the 0.47 M⊙ solution. The WD cooling age is compared against the sdB age using our models, which suggest an sdB likely older than the WD, contrary to the standard assumption for compact sdB-WD binaries. Subsequently, we propose a possible alternate formation channel for CD-30. We also perform binary evolution modelling of the system to study various aspects such as mass transfer, orbital period evolution, and luminosity evolution. Our models confirm CD-30 as a double detonation supernova progenitor, expected to explode ≈55 Myr from now. The WD accretes an ≈0.17 M⊙ thick helium shell that causes a detonation, leaving a 0.30 M⊙ sdB ejected at ≈750 km s−1. The final 15 Myr of the system are characterized by helium accretion which dominates the system luminosity, possibly resembling an AM CVn-type system.

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  4. Abstract

    We enhance the treatment of crystallization for models of white dwarfs (WDs) in the stellar evolution software Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (MESA) by implementing carbon–oxygen (C/O) phase separation. The phase separation process during crystallization leads to transport of oxygen toward the centers of WDs, resulting in a more compact structure that liberates gravitational energy as additional heating that modestly slows WD cooling timescales. We quantify this cooling delay in MESA C/O WD models over the mass range 0.5–1.0M, finding delays of 0.5–0.8 Gyr for typical C/O interior profiles. MESA WD cooling timescales including this effect are generally comparable to other WD evolution models that make similar assumptions about input physics. When considering phase separation alongside22Ne sedimentation, however, we find that both MESA and BaSTI WD cooling models predict a more modest sedimentation delay than the latest LPCODE models, and this may therefore require a reevaluation of previously proposed solutions to some WD cooling anomalies that were based on LPCODE models of22Ne sedimentation. Our implementation of C/O phase separation in the open-source stellar evolution software MESA provides an important tool for building realistic grids of WD cooling models, as well as a framework for expanding on our implementation to explore additional physical processes related to phase transitions and associated fluid motions in WD interiors.

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  5. Abstract

    The polluted white dwarf (WD) system SDSS J122859.93+104032.9 (SDSS J1228) shows variable emission features interpreted as originating from a solid core fragment held together against tidal forces by its own internal strength, orbiting within its surrounding debris disk. Estimating the size of this orbiting solid body requires modeling the accretion rate of the polluting material that is observed mixing into the WD surface. That material is supplied via sublimation from the surface of the orbiting solid body. The sublimation rate can be estimated as a simple function of the surface area of the solid body and the incident flux from the nearby hot WD. On the other hand, estimating the accretion rate requires detailed modeling of the surface structure and mixing in the accreting WD. In this work, we present MESA WD models for SDSS J1228 that account for the thermohaline instability and mixing in addition to heavy element sedimentation to constrain accurately the sublimation and accretion rate necessary to supply the observed pollution. We derive a total accretion rate ofṀacc=1.8×1011gs1, several orders of magnitude higher than theṀacc=5.6×108gs1estimate obtained in earlier efforts. The larger mass accretion rate implies that the minimum estimated radius of the orbiting solid body isrmin= 72 km, which, although significantly larger than prior estimates, still lies within the upper bounds (a few hundred kilometers) for which the internal strength could no longer withstand the tidal forces from the gravity of the WD.

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  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 27, 2024

    We report the results from follow-up observations of two Roche-lobe filling hot subdwarf binaries with white dwarf companions predicted to have accretion discs. ZTF J213056.71+442046.5 (ZTF J2130) with a 39-min period and ZTF J205515.98+465106.5 (ZTF J2055) with a 56-min period were both discovered as subdwarf binaries with light curves that could only be explained well by including an accretion disc in their models. We performed a detailed high-resolution spectral analysis, using Keck/ESI to search for possible accretion features for both objects. We also employed polarimetric analysis using the Nordic Optical Telescope (NOT) for ZTF J2130. We did not find any signatures of an accretion disc in either object, and placed upper limits on the flux contribution and variation in degree of polarization due to the disc. Owing to the short 39-min period and availability of photometric data over 6 yr for ZTF J2130, we conducted an extensive O − C timing analysis in an attempt to look for orbital decay due to gravitational wave radiation. No such decay was detected conclusively, and a few more years of data paired with precise and consistent timing measurements were deemed necessary to constrain $\dot{P}$ observationally.

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  8. Abstract Binary systems of a hot subdwarf B (sdB) star + a white dwarf (WD) with orbital periods less than 2–3 hr can come into contact due to gravitational waves and transfer mass from the sdB star to the WD before the sdB star ceases nuclear burning and contracts to become a WD. Motivated by the growing class of observed systems in this category, we study the phases of mass transfer in these systems. We find that because the residual outer hydrogen envelope accounts for a large fraction of an sdB star’s radius, sdB stars can spend a significant amount of time (∼tens of megayears) transferring this small amount of material at low rates (∼10 −10 –10 −9 M ⊙ yr −1 ) before transitioning to a phase where the bulk of their He transfers at much faster rates ( ≳10 −8 M ⊙ yr −1 ). These systems therefore spend a surprising amount of time with Roche-filling sdB donors at orbital periods longer than the range associated with He star models without an envelope. We predict that the envelope transfer phase should be detectable by searching for ellipsoidal modulation of Roche-filling objects with P orb = 30–100 minutes and T eff = 20,000–30,000 K, and that many (≥10) such systems may be found in the Galactic plane after accounting for reddening. We also argue that many of these systems may go through a phase of He transfer that matches the signatures of AM CVn systems, and that some AM CVn systems associated with young stellar populations likely descend from this channel. 
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  9. Abstract

    We report the discovery of ZTF J0127+5258, a compact mass-transferring binary with an orbital period of 13.7 minutes. The system contains a white dwarf accretor, which likely originated as a post–common envelope carbon–oxygen (CO) white dwarf, and a warm donor (Teff,donor= 16,400 ± 1000 K). The donor probably formed during a common envelope phase between the CO white dwarf and an evolving giant that left behind a helium star or white dwarf in a close orbit with the CO white dwarf. We measure gravitational wave–driven orbital inspiral with ∼51σsignificance, which yields a joint constraint on the component masses and mass transfer rate. While the accretion disk in the system is dominated by ionized helium emission, the donor exhibits a mixture of hydrogen and helium absorption lines. Phase-resolved spectroscopy yields a donor radial velocity semiamplitude of 771 ± 27 km s−1, and high-speed photometry reveals that the system is eclipsing. We detect a Chandra X-ray counterpart withLX∼ 3 × 1031erg s−1. Depending on the mass transfer rate, the system will likely either evolve into a stably mass-transferring helium cataclysmic variable, merge to become an R CrB star, or explode as a Type Ia supernova in the next million years. We predict that the Laser Space Interferometer Antenna (LISA) will detect the source with a signal-to-noise ratio of 24 ± 6 after 4 yr of observations. The system is the first LISA-loud mass-transferring binary with an intrinsically luminous donor, a class of sources that provide the opportunity to leverage the synergy between optical and infrared time domain surveys, X-ray facilities, and gravitational-wave observatories to probe general relativity, accretion physics, and binary evolution.

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