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  1. ABSTRACT

    It has long been speculated that jet feedback from accretion on to the companion during a common envelope (CE) event could affect the orbital evolution and envelope unbinding process. We present global 3D hydrodynamical simulations of CE evolution (CEE) that include a jet subgrid model and compare them with an otherwise identical model without a jet. Our binary consists of a 2-M⊙ red giant branch primary and a 1- or 0.5-M⊙ main sequence (MS) or white dwarf (WD) secondary companion modelled as a point particle. We run the simulations for 10 orbits (40 d). Our jet model adds mass at a constant rate $\dot{M}_\mathrm{j}$ of the order of the Eddington rate, with maximum velocity vj of the order of the escape speed, to two spherical sectors with the jet axis perpendicular to the orbital plane. We explore the influence of the jet on orbital evolution, envelope morphology and envelope unbinding, and assess the dependence of the results on the jet mass-loss rate, launch speed, companion mass, opening angle, and accretion rate. In line with our theoretical estimates, jets are choked around the time of first periastron passage and remain choked thereafter. Subsequent to choking, but not before, jets efficiently transfermore »energy to bound envelope material. This leads to increases in unbound mass of up to $\sim 10{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$, as compared to the simulations without jets. We also estimate the cumulative effects of jets over a full CE phase, finding that jets launched by MS and WD companions are unlikely to dominate envelope unbinding.

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  2. Abstract We present the results of a comprehensive, near-UV-to-near-IR Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) imaging study of the young planetary nebula (PN) NGC 6302, the archetype of the class of extreme bilobed, pinched-waist PNe that are rich in dust and molecular gas. The new WFC3 emission-line image suite clearly defines the dusty toroidal equatorial structure that bisects NGC 6302's polar lobes, and the fine structures (clumps, knots, and filaments) within the lobes. The most striking aspect of the new WFC3 image suite is the bright, S-shaped 1.64 μ m [Fe ii ] emission that traces the southern interior of the east lobe rim and the northern interior of the west lobe rim, in point-symmetric fashion. We interpret this [Fe ii ] emitting region as a zone of shocks caused by ongoing, fast (∼100 km s −1 ), collimated, off-axis winds from NGC 6302's central star(s). The [Fe ii ] emission and a zone of dusty, N- and S-rich clumps near the nebular symmetry axis form wedge-shaped structures on opposite sides of the core, with boundaries marked by sharp azimuthal ionization gradients. Comparison of our new images with earlier HST/WFC3 imaging reveals that the object previously identifiedmore »as NGC 6302's central star is a foreground field star. Shell-like inner lobe features may instead pinpoint the obscured central star’s actual position within the nebula’s dusty central torus. The juxtaposition of structures revealed in this HST/WFC3 imaging study of NGC 6302 presents a daunting challenge for models of the origin and evolution of bipolar PNe.« less
  3. ABSTRACT

    The role of charge exchange in shaping exoplanet photoevaporation remains a topic of contention. Exchange of electrons between stellar wind protons from the exoplanet’s host star and neutral hydrogen from the planet’s wind has been proposed as a mechanism to create ‘energetic neutral atoms’ (ENAs), which could explain the high absorption line velocities observed in systems where mass-loss is occurring. In this paper, we present results from three-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations of the mass-loss of a planet similar to HD 209458b. We self-consistently launch a planetary wind by calculating the ionization and heating resulting from incident high-energy radiation, inject a stellar wind into the simulation, and allow electron exchange between the stellar and planetary winds. We predict the potential production of ENAs by the wind–wind interaction analytically, and then present the results of our simulations, which confirm the analytic limits. Within the limits of our hydrodynamic simulation, we find that charge exchange with the stellar wind properties examined here is unable to explain the absorption observed at high Doppler velocities.

  4. The Wigner's friend paradox concerns one of the most puzzling problems of quantum mechanics: the consistent description of multiple nested observers. Recently, a variation of Wigner's gedankenexperiment, introduced by Frauchiger and Renner, has lead to new debates about the self-consistency of quantum mechanics. At the core of the paradox lies the description of an observer and the object it measures as a closed system obeying the Schrödinger equation. We revisit this assumption to derive a necessary condition on a quantum system to behave as an observer. We then propose a simple single-photon interferometric setup implementing Frauchiger and Renner's scenario, and use the derived condition to shed a new light on the assumptions leading to their paradox. From our description, we argue that the three apparently incompatible properties used to question the consistency of quantum mechanics correspond to two logically distinct contexts: either one assumes that Wigner has full control over his friends' lab, or conversely that some parts of the labs remain unaffected by Wigner's subsequent measurements. The first context may be seen as the quantum erasure of the memory of Wigner's friend. We further show these properties are associated with observables which do not commute, and therefore cannot takemore »well-defined values simultaneously. Consequently, the three contradictory properties never hold simultaneously.« less
  5. ABSTRACT Common envelope (CE) evolution is a critical but still poorly understood progenitor phase of many high-energy astrophysical phenomena. Although 3D global hydrodynamic CE simulations have become more common in recent years, those involving an asymptotic giant branch (AGB) primary are scarce, due to the high computational cost from the larger dynamical range compared to red giant branch (RGB) primaries. But CE evolution with AGB progenitors is desirable to simulate because such events are the likely progenitors of most bi-polar planetary nebulae (PNe), and prominent observational testing grounds for CE physics. Here we present a high-resolution global simulation of CE evolution involving an AGB primary and 1-$\mathrm{M_\odot }$ secondary, evolved for 20 orbital revolutions. During the last 16 of these orbits, the envelope unbinds at an almost constant rate of about 0.1–$0.2\, \mathrm{M_\odot \, yr^{-1}}$. If this rate were maintained, the envelope would be unbound in less than $10\, {\rm yr}$. The dominant source of this unbinding is consistent with inspiral; we assess the influence of the ambient medium to be subdominant. We compare this run with a previous run that used an RGB phase primary evolved from the same 2-$\mathrm{M_\odot }$ main-sequence star to assess the influence of themore »evolutionary state of the primary. When scaled appropriately, the two runs are quite similar, but with some important differences.« less
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  7. ABSTRACT The morphology of bipolar planetary nebulae (PNe) can be attributed to interactions between a fast wind from the central engine and the dense toroidal-shaped ejecta left over from common envelope (CE) evolution. Here we use the 3D hydrodynamic adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) code AstroBEAR to study the possibility that bipolar PN outflows can emerge collimated even from an uncollimated spherical wind in the aftermath of a CE event. The output of a single CE simulation via the smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) code phantom serves as the initial conditions. Four cases of winds, all with high enough momenta to account for observed high momenta pre-PN outflows, are injected spherically from the region of the CE binary remnant into the ejecta. We compare cases with two different momenta and cases with no radiative cooling versus application of optically thin emission via a cooling curve to the outflow. Our simulations show that in all cases highly collimated bipolar outflows result from deflection of the spherical wind via the interaction with the CE ejecta. Significant asymmetries between the top and bottom lobes are seen in all cases. The asymmetry is strongest for the lower momentum case with radiative cooling. While real post-CE windsmore »may be aspherical, our models show that collimation via ‘inertial confinement’ will be strong enough to create jet-like outflows even beginning with maximally uncollimated drivers. Our simulations reveal detailed shock structures in the shock-focused inertial confinement (SFIC) model and develop a lens-shaped inner shock that is a new feature of SFIC-driven bipolar lobes.« less
  8. ABSTRACT The role of radiation pressure in shaping exoplanet photoevaporation remains a topic of contention. Radiation pressure from the exoplanet’s host star has been proposed as a mechanism to drive the escaping atmosphere into a ‘cometary’ tail and explain the high velocities observed in systems where mass-loss is occurring. In this paper, we present results from high-resolution 3D hydrodynamic simulations of a planet similar to HD 209458b. We self-consistently launch a wind flowing outwards from the planet by calculating the ionization and heating resulting from incident high-energy radiation, and account for radiation pressure. We first present a simplified calculation, setting a limit on the Lyman-α flux required to drive the photoevaporated planetary material to larger radii and line-of-sight velocities. We then present the results of our simulations, which confirm the limits determined by our analytic calculation. We thus demonstrate that, within the limits of our hydrodynamic simulation and for the Lyman-α fluxes expected for HD 209458, radiation pressure is unlikely to significantly affect photoevaporative winds or to explain the high velocities at which wind material is observed, though further possibilities remain to be investigated.
  9. Abstract We compute the forces, torque and rate of work on the companion-core binary due to drag in global simulations of common envelope (CE) evolution for three different companion masses. Our simulations help to delineate regimes when conventional analytic drag force approximations are applicable. During and just prior to the first periastron passage of the in-spiral phase, the drag force is reasonably approximated by conventional analytic theory and peaks at values proportional to the companion mass. Good agreement between global and local 3D “wind tunnel” simulations, including similar net drag force and flow pattern, is obtained for comparable regions of parameter space. However, subsequent to the first periastron passage, the drag force is up to an order of magnitude smaller than theoretical predictions, quasi-steady, and depends only weakly on companion mass. The discrepancy is exacerbated for larger companion mass and when the inter-particle separation reduces to the Bondi-Hoyle-Lyttleton accretion radius, creating a turbulent thermalized region. Greater flow symmetry during this phase leads to near balance of opposing gravitational forces in front of and behind the companion, hence a small net drag. The reduced drag force at late times helps explain why companion-core separations necessary for envelope ejection are not reachedmore »by the end of limited duration CE simulations.« less