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  1. Context. Many physical processes taking place during the evolution of binary stellar systems remain poorly understood. The ever-expanding observational sample of X-ray binaries (XRBs) makes them excellent laboratories for constraining binary evolution theory. Such constraints and useful insights can be obtained by studying the effects of various physical assumptions on synthetic X-ray luminosity functions (XLFs) and comparing them with observed XLFs. Aims. In this work we focus on high-mass X-ray binaries (HMXBs) and study the effects on the XLF of various, poorly constrained assumptions regarding physical processes, such as the common-envelope phase, core collapse, and wind-fed accretion. Methods. We used the new binary population synthesis code POSYDON , which employs extensive precomputed grids of detailed stellar structure and binary evolution models, to simulate the entire evolution of binaries. We generated 96 synthetic XRB populations corresponding to different combinations of model assumptions, including different prescriptions for supernova kicks, supernova remnant masses, common-envelope evolution, circularization at the onset of Roche-lobe overflow, and observable wind-fed accretion. Results. The generated HMXB XLFs are feature-rich, deviating from the commonly assumed single power law. We find a break in our synthetic XLF at luminosity ∼10 38 erg s −1 , similar to observed XLFs. However, we also find a general overabundance of XRBs (up to a factor of ∼10 for certain model parameter combinations) driven primarily by XRBs with black hole accretors. Assumptions about the transient behavior of Be XRBs, asymmetric supernova kicks, and common-envelope physics can significantly affect the shape and normalization of our synthetic XLFs. We find that less well-studied assumptions regarding the circularization of the orbit at the onset of Roche-lobe overflow and criteria for the formation of an X-ray-emitting accretion disk around wind-accreting black holes can also impact our synthetic XLFs and reduce the discrepancy with observations. Conclusions. Our synthetic XLFs do not always agree well with observations, especially at intermediate X-ray luminosities, which is likely due to uncertainties in the adopted physical assumptions. While some model parameters leave distinct imprints on the shape of the synthetic XLFs and can reduce this deviation, others do not have a significant effect overall. Our study reveals the importance of large-scale parameter studies, highlighting the power of XRBs in constraining binary evolution theory. 
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  2. Abstract

    Mass measurements from low-mass black hole X-ray binaries (LMXBs) and radio pulsars have been used to identify a gap between the most massive neutron stars (NSs) and the least massive black holes (BHs). BH mass measurements in LMXBs are typically only possible for transient systems: outburst periods enable detection via all-sky X-ray monitors, while quiescent periods enable radial velocity measurements of the low-mass donor. We quantitatively study selection biases due to the requirement of transient behavior for BH mass measurements. Using rapid population synthesis simulations (COSMIC), detailed binary stellar-evolution models (MESA), and the disk instability model of transient behavior, we demonstrate that transient LMXB selection effects introduce observational biases, and can suppress mass-gap BHs in the observed sample. However, we find a population of transient LMXBs with mass-gap BHs form through accretion-induced collapse of an NS during the LMXB phase, which is inconsistent with observations. These results are robust against variations of binary evolution prescriptions. The significance of this accretion-induced collapse population depends upon the maximum NS birth massMNS,birthmax. To reflect the observed dearth of low-mass BHs,COSMICandMESAmodels favorMNS,birthmax2M. In the absence of further observational biases against LMXBs with mass-gap BHs, our results indicate the need for additional physics connected to the modeling of LMXB formation and evolution.

     
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  3. Abstract

    When a compact object is formed in a binary, any mass lost during core collapse will impart a kick on the binary’s center of mass. Asymmetries in this mass loss or neutrino emission would impart an additional natal kick on the remnant black hole or neutron star, whether it was formed in a binary or in isolation. While it is well established that neutron stars receive natal kicks upon formation, it is unclear whether black holes do as well. Here, we consider the low-mass X-ray binary MAXI J1305-704, which has been reported to have a space velocity ≳200 km s−1. In addition to integrating its trajectory to infer its velocity upon formation of its black hole, we account for recent estimates of its period, black hole mass, mass ratio, and donor effective temperature from photometric and spectroscopic observations. We find that if MAXI J1305-704 formed via isolated binary evolution in the thick Galactic disk, then the supernova that formed its black hole imparted a natal kick of at least 70 km s−1while ejecting less than ≃1Mwith 95% confidence assuming uninformative priors on mass loss and natal kick velocity.

     
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  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. 
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  5. Abstract

    Binary stars undergo a variety of interactions and evolutionary phases, critical for predicting and explaining observations. Binary population synthesis with full simulation of stellar structure and evolution is computationally expensive, requiring a large number of mass-transfer sequences. The recently developed binary population synthesis codePOSYDONincorporates grids ofMESAbinary star simulations that are interpolated to model large-scale populations of massive binaries. The traditional method of computing a high-density rectilinear grid of simulations is not scalable for higher-dimension grids, accounting for a range of metallicities, rotation, and eccentricity. We present a new active learning algorithm,psy-cris, which uses machine learning in the data-gathering process to adaptively and iteratively target simulations to run, resulting in a custom, high-performance training set. We testpsy-crison a toy problem and find the resulting training sets require fewer simulations for accurate classification and regression than either regular or randomly sampled grids. We further applypsy-cristo the target problem of building a dynamic grid ofMESAsimulations, and we demonstrate that, even without fine tuning, a simulation set of only ∼1/4 the size of a rectilinear grid is sufficient to achieve the same classification accuracy. We anticipate further gains when algorithmic parameters are optimized for the targeted application. We find that optimizing for classification only may lead to performance losses in regression, and vice versa. Lowering the computational cost of producing grids will enable new population synthesis codes such asPOSYDONto cover more input parameters while preserving interpolation accuracies.

     
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  6. Long-duration gamma-ray bursts are thought to be associated with the core-collapse of massive, rapidly spinning stars and the formation of black holes. However, efficient angular momentum transport in stellar interiors, currently supported by asteroseismic and gravitational-wave constraints, leads to predominantly slowly-spinning stellar cores. Here, we report on binary stellar evolution and population synthesis calculations, showing that tidal interactions in close binaries not only can explain the observed subpopulation of spinning, merging binary black holes but also lead to long gamma-ray bursts at the time of black-hole formation. Given our model calibration against the distribution of isotropic-equivalent energies of luminous long gamma-ray bursts, we find that ≈10% of the GWTC-2 reported binary black holes had a luminous long gamma-ray burst associated with their formation, with GW190517 and GW190719 having a probability of ≈85% and ≈60%, respectively, being among them. Moreover, given an assumption about their average beaming fraction, our model predicts the rate density of long gamma-ray bursts, as a function of redshift, originating from this channel. For a constant beaming fraction f B  ∼ 0.05 our model predicts a rate density comparable to the observed one, throughout the redshift range, while, at redshift z  ∈ [0, 2.5], a tentative comparison with the metallicity distribution of observed LGRB host galaxies implies that between 20% to 85% of the observed long gamma-ray bursts may originate from progenitors of merging binary black holes. The proposed link between a potentially significant fraction of observed, luminous long gamma-ray bursts and the progenitors of spinning binary black-hole mergers allows us to probe the latter well outside the horizon of current-generation gravitational wave observatories, and out to cosmological distances. 
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    Long gamma-ray bursts are associated with the core-collapse of massive, rapidly spinning stars. However, the believed efficient angular momentum transport in stellar interiors leads to predominantly slowly-spinning stellar cores. Here, we report on binary stellar evolution and population synthesis calculations, showing that tidal interactions in close binaries not only can explain the observed sub-population of spinning, merging binary black holes, but also lead to long gamma-ray bursts at the time of black-hole formation, with rates matching the empirical ones. We find that ≈10% of the GWTC-2 reported binary black holes had a long gamma-ray burst associated with their formation, with GW190517 and GW190719 having a probability of ≈85% and ≈60%, respectively, being among them. 
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  9. Abstract The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) will be a transformative experiment for gravitational wave astronomy, and, as such, it will offer unique opportunities to address many key astrophysical questions in a completely novel way. The synergy with ground-based and space-born instruments in the electromagnetic domain, by enabling multi-messenger observations, will add further to the discovery potential of LISA. The next decade is crucial to prepare the astrophysical community for LISA’s first observations. This review outlines the extensive landscape of astrophysical theory, numerical simulations, and astronomical observations that are instrumental for modeling and interpreting the upcoming LISA datastream. To this aim, the current knowledge in three main source classes for LISA is reviewed; ultra-compact stellar-mass binaries, massive black hole binaries, and extreme or interme-diate mass ratio inspirals. The relevant astrophysical processes and the established modeling techniques are summarized. Likewise, open issues and gaps in our understanding of these sources are highlighted, along with an indication of how LISA could help making progress in the different areas. New research avenues that LISA itself, or its joint exploitation with upcoming studies in the electromagnetic domain, will enable, are also illustrated. Improvements in modeling and analysis approaches, such as the combination of numerical simulations and modern data science techniques, are discussed. This review is intended to be a starting point for using LISA as a new discovery tool for understanding our Universe. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024