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  1. Abstract

    Double white dwarf (WD) binaries are increasingly being discovered at short orbital periods where strong tidal effects and significant tidal heating signatures may occur. We assume that the tidal potential of the companion excites outgoing gravity waves within the WD primary, the dissipation of which leads to an increase in the WD’s surface temperature. We compute the excitation and dissipation of the waves in cooling WD models in evolvingMESAbinary simulations. Tidal heating is self-consistently computed and added to the models at every time step. As a binary inspirals to orbital periods less than ∼20 minutes, the WD’s behavior changes from cooling to heating, with temperature enhancements that can exceed 10,000 K compared with nontidally heated models. We compare a grid of tidally heated WD models to observed short-period systems with hot WD primaries. While tidal heating affects theirTeff, it is likely not the dominant luminosity. Instead, these WDs are probably intrinsically young and hot, implying that the binaries formed at short orbital periods. The binaries are consistent with undergoing common envelope evolution with a somewhat low efficiencyαCE. We delineate the parameter space where the traveling wave assumption is most valid, noting that it breaks down for WDs that cool sufficiently, where standing waves may instead be formed.

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    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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    Strong magnetic fields in the cores of stars are expected to significantly modify the behaviour of gravity waves: this is likely the origin of suppressed dipole modes observed in many red giants. However, a detailed understanding of how such fields alter the spectrum and spatial structure of magnetogravity waves has been elusive. For a dipole field, we analytically characterize the horizontal eigenfunctions of magnetogravity modes, assuming that the wavevector is primarily radial. For axisymmetric modes (m = 0), the magnetogravity wave eigenfunctions become Hough functions, and they have a radial turning point for sufficiently strong magnetic fields. For non-axisymmetric modes (m ≠ 0), the interaction between the discrete g-mode spectrum and a continuum of Alfvén waves produces nearly discontinuous features in the fluid displacements at critical latitudes associated with a singularity in the fluid equations. We find that magnetogravity modes cannot propagate in regions with sufficiently strong magnetic fields, instead becoming evanescent. When encountering strong magnetic fields, ingoing gravity waves are likely refracted into outgoing slow magnetic waves. These outgoing waves approach infinite radial wavenumbers, which are likely to be damped efficiently. However, it may be possible for a small fraction of the wave power to escape the stellar core as pure Alfvén waves or magnetogravity waves confined to a very narrow equatorial band. The artificially sharp features in the Wentzel–Kramers–Brillouin-separated solutions suggest the need for global mode solutions which include small terms neglected in our analysis.

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    The Tayler instability is an important but poorly studied magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) instability that likely operates in stellar interiors. The non-linear saturation of the Tayler instability is poorly understood and has crucial consequences for dynamo action and angular momentum transport in radiative regions of stars. We perform three-dimensional MHD simulations of the Tayler instability in a cylindrical geometry, including strong buoyancy and Coriolis forces as appropriate for its operation in realistic rotating stars. The linear growth of the instability is characterized by a pre-dominantly m = 1 oscillation with growth rates roughly following analytical expectations. The non-linear saturation of the instability appears to be caused by secondary shear instabilities and is also accompanied by a morphological change in the flow. We argue, however, that non-linear saturation likely occurs via other mechanisms in real stars where the separation of scales is larger than those reached by our simulations. We also observe dynamo action via the amplification of the axisymmetric poloidal magnetic field, suggesting that Tayler instability could be important for magnetic field generation and angular momentum transport in the radiative regions of evolving stars.

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    Common envelope (CE) evolution, which is crucial in creating short-period binaries and associated astrophysical events, can be constrained by reverse modelling of such binaries’ formation histories. Through analysis of a sample of well-constrained white dwarf (WD) binaries with low-mass primaries (seven eclipsing double WDs, two non-eclipsing double WDs, one WD-brown dwarf), we estimate the CE energy efficiency αCE needed to unbind the hydrogen envelope. We use grids of He- and CO-core WD models to determine the masses and cooling ages that match each primary WD’s radius and temperature. Assuming gravitational wave-driven orbital decay, we then calculate the associated ranges in post-CE orbital period. By mapping WD models to a grid of red giant progenitor stars, we determine the total envelope binding energies and possible orbital periods at the point CE evolution is initiated, thereby constraining αCE. Assuming He-core WDs with progenitors of 0.9–2.0 M⊙, we find αCE ∼ 0.2–0.4 is consistent with each system we model. Significantly higher values of αCE are required for higher mass progenitors and for CO-core WDs, so these scenarios are deemed unlikely. Our values are mostly consistent with previous studies of post-CE WD binaries, and they suggest a nearly constant and low envelope ejection efficiency for CE events that produce He-core WDs.

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    Planet engulfment can be inferred from enhancement of refractory elements in the photosphere of the engulfing star following accretion of rocky planetary material. Such refractory enrichments are subject to stellar interior mixing processes, namely thermohaline mixing induced by an inverse mean-molecular-weight gradient between the convective envelope and radiative core. Using mesa stellar models, we quantified the strength and duration of engulfment signatures following planet engulfment. We found that thermohaline mixing dominates during the first ∼5–45 Myr post-engulfment, weakening signatures by a factor of ∼2 before giving way to depletion via gravitational settling on longer time-scales. Solar metallicity stars in the 0.5–1.2 M⊙ mass range have observable signature time-scales of ∼1 Myr–8 Gyr, depending on the engulfing star mass and amount of material engulfed. Early type stars exhibit larger initial refractory enhancements but more rapid depletion. Solar-like stars (M = 0.9–1.1 M⊙) maintain observable signatures (>0.05 dex) over time-scales of ∼20 Myr–1.7 Gyr for nominal 10 M⊕ engulfment events, with longer-lived signatures occurring for low-metallicity and/or hotter stars (1 M⊙, ∼2–3 Gyr). Engulfment events occurring well after the zero-age main sequence produce larger signals due to suppression of thermohaline mixing by gravitational settling of helium (1 M⊙, ∼1.5 Gyr). These results indicate that it may be difficult to observe engulfment signatures in solar-like stars that are several Gyr old.

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  7. Abstract

    Many core-collapse supernovae (SNe) with hydrogen-poor and low-mass ejecta, such as ultra-stripped SNe and type Ibn SNe, are observed to interact with dense circumstellar material (CSM). These events likely arise from the core collapse of helium stars that have been heavily stripped by a binary companion and have ejected significant mass during the last weeks to years of their lives. In helium star models run to days before core collapse we identify a range of helium core masses ≈2.5–3Mwhose envelopes expand substantially due to the helium shell burning while the core undergoes neon and oxygen burning. When modeled in binary systems, the rapid expansion of these helium stars induces extremely high rates of late-stage mass transfer (Ṁ102Myr1) beginning weeks to decades before core collapse. We consider two scenarios for producing CSM in these systems: either mass transfer remains stable and mass loss is driven from the system in the vicinity of the accreting companion, or mass transfer becomes unstable and causes a common envelope event (CEE) through which the helium envelope is unbound. The ensuing CSM properties are consistent with the CSM masses (∼10−2–1M) and radii (∼1013–1016cm) inferred for ultra-stripped SNe and several type Ibn SNe. Furthermore, systems that undergo a CEE could produce short-period neutron star binaries that merge in less than 100 Myr.

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

    Planetary engulfment events can occur while host stars are on the main sequence. The addition of rocky planetary material during engulfment will lead to refractory abundance enhancements in the host star photosphere, but the level of enrichment and its duration will depend on mixing processes that occur within the stellar interior, such as convection, diffusion, and thermohaline mixing. We examine engulfment signatures by modelling the evolution of photospheric lithium abundances. Because lithium can be burned before or after the engulfment event, it produces unique signatures that vary with time and host star type. Using mesa stellar models, we quantify the strength and duration of these signatures following the engulfment of a 1, 10, or 100 M⊕ planetary companion with bulk Earth composition, for solar-metallicity host stars with masses ranging from 0.5 to 1.4 M⊙. We find that lithium is quickly depleted via burning in low-mass host stars ($\lesssim 0.7 \, {\rm M}_\odot$) on a time-scale of a few hundred Myrs, but significant lithium enrichment signatures can last for Gyrs in G-type stars ($\sim \! 0.9 \, {\rm M}_{\odot }$). For more massive stars (1.3−1.4 M⊙), engulfment can enhance internal mixing and diffusion processes, potentially decreasing the surface lithium abundance. Our predicted signatures from exoplanet engulfment are consistent with observed lithium-rich solar-type stars and abundance enhancements in chemically inhomogeneous binary stars.

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    We constrain the orbital period (Porb) distribution of low-mass detached main-sequence eclipsing binaries (EBs) with light-curves from the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), which provides a well-understood selection function and sensitivity to faint stars. At short periods (Porb ≲ 2 d), binaries are predicted to evolve significantly due to magnetic braking (MB), which shrinks orbits and ultimately brings detached binaries into contact. The period distribution is thus a sensitive probe of MB. We find that the intrinsic period distribution of low-mass (0.1 ≲ M1/M⊙ < 0.9) binaries is basically flat (${\rm d}N/{\rm d}P_{\rm orb} \propto P_{\rm orb}^0$) from Porb = 10 d down to the contact limit. This is strongly inconsistent with predictions of classical MB models based on the Skumanich relation, which are widely used in binary evolution calculations and predict ${\rm d}N/{\rm d}P_{\rm orb} \propto P_{\rm orb}^{7/3}$ at short periods. The observed distributions are best reproduced by models in which the magnetic field saturates at short periods with a MB torque that scales roughly as $\dot{J}\propto P_{\rm orb}^{-1}$, as opposed to $\dot{J} \propto P_{\rm orb}^{-3}$ in the standard Skumanich law. We also find no significant difference between the period distributions of binaries containing fully and partially convective stars. Our results confirm that a saturated MB law, which was previously found to describe the spin-down of rapidly rotating isolated M dwarfs, also operates in tidally locked binaries. We advocate using saturated MB models in binary evolution calculations. Our work supports previous suggestions that MB in cataclysmic variables (CVs) is much weaker than assumed in the standard evolutionary model, unless mass transfer leads to significant additional angular momentum loss in CVs.

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