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  1. ABSTRACT

    Our understanding of stellar structure and evolution coming from one-dimensional (1D) stellar models is limited by uncertainties related to multidimensional processes taking place in stellar interiors. 1D models, however, can now be tested and improved with the help of detailed three-dimensional (3D) hydrodynamics models, which can reproduce complex multidimensional processes over short time-scales, thanks to the recent advances in computing resources. Among these processes, turbulent entrainment leading to mixing across convective boundaries is one of the least understood and most impactful. Here, we present the results from a set of hydrodynamics simulations of the neon-burning shell in a massive star, and interpret them in the framework of the turbulent entrainment law from geophysics. Our simulations differ from previous studies in their unprecedented degree of realism in reproducing the stellar environment. Importantly, the strong entrainment found in the simulations highlights the major flaws of the current implementation of convective boundary mixing in 1D stellar models. This study therefore calls for major revisions of how convective boundaries are modelled in 1D, and in particular the implementation of entrainment in these models. This will have important implications for supernova theory, nucleosynthesis, neutron stars, and black holes physics.

  2. ABSTRACT

    Magnetic fields can drastically change predictions of evolutionary models of massive stars via mass-loss quenching, magnetic braking, and efficient angular momentum transport, which we aim to quantify in this work. We use the mesa software instrument to compute an extensive main-sequence grid of stellar structure and evolution models, as well as isochrones, accounting for the effects attributed to a surface fossil magnetic field. The grid is densely populated in initial mass (3–60 M⊙), surface equatorial magnetic field strength (0–50 kG), and metallicity (representative of the Solar neighbourhood and the Magellanic Clouds). We use two magnetic braking and two chemical mixing schemes and compare the model predictions for slowly rotating, nitrogen-enriched (‘Group 2’) stars with observations in the Large Magellanic Cloud. We quantify a range of initial field strengths that allow for producing Group 2 stars and find that typical values (up to a few kG) lead to solutions. Between the subgrids, we find notable departures in surface abundances and evolutionary paths. In our magnetic models, chemical mixing is always less efficient compared to non-magnetic models due to the rapid spin-down. We identify that quasi-chemically homogeneous main sequence evolution by efficient mixing could be prevented by fossil magnetic fields. We recommend comparing this gridmore »of evolutionary models with spectropolarimetric and spectroscopic observations with the goals of (i) revisiting the derived stellar parameters of known magnetic stars, and (ii) observationally constraining the uncertain magnetic braking and chemical mixing schemes.

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  3. GW190521 challenges our understanding of the late-stage evolution of massive stars and the effects of the pair-instability in particular. We discuss the possibility that stars at low or zero metallicity could retain most of their hydrogen envelope until the pre-supernova stage, avoid the pulsational pair-instability regime and produce a black hole with a mass in the mass gap by fallback. We present a series of new stellar evolution models at zero and low metallicity computed with the Geneva and MESA stellar evolution codes and compare to existing grids of models. Models with a metallicity in the range 0-0.0004 have three properties which favour higher BH masses as compared to higher metallicity models. These are (i) lower mass-loss rates during the post-MS phase, (ii) a more compact star disfavouring binary interaction and (iii) possible H-He shell interactions which lower the CO core mass. We conclude that it is possible that GW190521 may be the merger of black holes produced directly by massive stars from the first stellar generations. Our models indicate BH masses up to 70-75 Msun. Uncertainties related to convective mixing, mass loss, H-He shell interactions and pair-instability pulsations may increase this limit to ~85 Msun.
  4. ABSTRACT The time evolution of angular momentum and surface rotation of massive stars are strongly influenced by fossil magnetic fields via magnetic braking. We present a new module containing a simple, comprehensive implementation of such a field at the surface of a massive star within the Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (mesa) software instrument. We test two limiting scenarios for magnetic braking: distributing the angular momentum loss throughout the star in the first case, and restricting the angular momentum loss to a surface reservoir in the second case. We perform a systematic investigation of the rotational evolution using a grid of OB star models with surface magnetic fields (M⋆ = 5–60 M⊙, Ω/Ωcrit = 0.2–1.0, Bp = 1–20 kG). We then employ a representative grid of B-type star models (M⋆ = 5, 10, 15 M⊙, Ω/Ωcrit = 0.2, 0.5, 0.8, Bp = 1, 3, 10, 30 kG) to compare to the results of a recent self-consistent analysis of the sample of known magnetic B-type stars. We infer that magnetic massive stars arrive at the zero-age main sequence (ZAMS) with a range of rotation rates, rather than with one common value. In particular, some stars are required to have close-to-critical rotation at the ZAMS. However, magnetic braking yields surface rotationmore »rates converging to a common low value, making it difficult to infer the initial rotation rates of evolved, slowly rotating stars.« less
  5. All ten LIGO/Virgo binary black hole (BH-BH) coalescences reported following the O1/O2 runs have near-zero effective spins. There are only three potential explanations for this. If the BH spin magnitudes are large, then: (i) either both BH spin vectors must be nearly in the orbital plane or (ii) the spin angular momenta of the BHs must be oppositely directed and similar in magnitude. Then there is also the possibility that (iii) the BH spin magnitudes are small. We consider the third hypothesis within the framework of the classical isolated binary evolution scenario of the BH-BH merger formation. We test three models of angular momentum transport in massive stars: a mildly efficient transport by meridional currents (as employed in the Geneva code), an efficient transport by the Tayler-Spruit magnetic dynamo (as implemented in the MESA code), and a very-efficient transport (as proposed by Fuller et al.) to calculate natal BH spins. We allow for binary evolution to increase the BH spins through accretion and account for the potential spin-up of stars through tidal interactions. Additionally, we update the calculations of the stellar-origin BH masses, including revisions to the history of star formation and to the chemical evolution across cosmic time. Wemore »find that we can simultaneously match the observed BH-BH merger rate density and BH masses and BH-BH effective spins. Models with efficient angular momentum transport are favored. The updated stellar-mass weighted gas-phase metallicity evolution now used in our models appears to be key for obtaining an improved reproduction of the LIGO/Virgo merger rate estimate. Mass losses during the pair-instability pulsation supernova phase are likely to be overestimated if the merger GW170729 hosts a BH more massive than 50  M ⊙ . We also estimate rates of black hole-neutron star (BH-NS) mergers from recent LIGO/Virgo observations. If, in fact. angular momentum transport in massive stars is efficient, then any (electromagnetic or gravitational wave) observation of a rapidly spinning BH would indicate either a very effective tidal spin up of the progenitor star (homogeneous evolution, high-mass X-ray binary formation through case A mass transfer, or a spin- up of a Wolf-Rayet star in a close binary by a close companion), significant mass accretion by the hole, or a BH formation through the merger of two or more BHs (in a dense stellar cluster).« less