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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. ABSTRACT Massive stars are crucial to galactic chemical evolution for elements heavier than iron. Their contribution at early times in the evolution of the Universe, however, is unclear due to poorly constrained nuclear reaction rates. The competing 17O(α, γ)21Ne and 17O(α, n)20Ne reactions strongly impact weak s-process yields from rotating massive stars at low metallicities. Abundant 16O absorbs neutrons, removing flux from the s-process, and producing 17O. The 17O(α, n)20Ne reaction releases neutrons, allowing continued s-process nucleosynthesis, if the 17O(α, γ)21Ne reaction is sufficiently weak. While published rates are available, they are based on limited indirect experimental data for the relevant temperatures and, more importantly, no uncertainties are provided. The available nuclear physics has been evaluated, and combined with data from a new study of astrophysically relevant 21Ne states using the 20Ne(d, p)21Ne reaction. Constraints are placed on the ratio of the (α, n)/(α, γ) reaction rates with uncertainties on the rates provided for the first time. The new rates favour the (α, n) reaction and suggest that the weak s-process in rotating low-metallicity stars is likely to continue up to barium and, within the computed uncertainties, even to lead.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 21, 2023
  4. Context. A realistic parametrization of convection and convective boundary mixing in conventional stellar evolution codes is still the subject of ongoing research. To improve the current situation, multidimensional hydrodynamic simulations are used to study convection in stellar interiors. Such simulations are numerically challenging, especially for flows at low Mach numbers which are typical for convection during early evolutionary stages. Aims. We explore the benefits of using a low-Mach hydrodynamic flux solver and demonstrate its usability for simulations in the astrophysical context. Simulations of convection for a realistic stellar profile are analyzed regarding the properties of convective boundary mixing. Methods. The time-implicit Seven-League Hydro (SLH) code was used to perform multidimensional simulations of convective helium shell burning based on a 25  M ⊙ star model. The results obtained with the low-Mach AUSM + -up solver were compared to results when using its non low-Mach variant AUSM B + -up. We applied well-balancing of the gravitational source term to maintain the initial hydrostatic background stratification. The computational grids have resolutions ranging from 180 × 90 2 to 810 × 540 2 cells and the nuclear energy release was boosted by factors of 3 × 10 3 , 1 × 10 4 , and 3 × 10 4 tomore »study the dependence of the results on these parameters. Results. The boosted energy input results in convection at Mach numbers in the range of 10 −3 –10 −2 . Standard mixing-length theory predicts convective velocities of about 1.6 × 10 −4 if no boosting is applied. The simulations with AUSM + -up show a Kolmogorov-like inertial range in the kinetic energy spectrum that extends further toward smaller scales compared with its non low-Mach variant. The kinetic energy dissipation of the AUSM + -up solver already converges at a lower resolution compared to AUSM B + -up. The extracted entrainment rates at the boundaries of the convection zone are well represented by the bulk Richardson entrainment law and the corresponding fitting parameters are in agreement with published results for carbon shell burning. However, our study needs to be validated by simulations at higher resolution. Further, we find that a general increase in the entropy in the convection zone may significantly contribute to the measured entrainment of the top boundary. Conclusion. This study demonstrates the successful application of the AUSM + -up solver to a realistic astrophysical setup. Compressible simulations of convection in early phases at nominal stellar luminosity will benefit from its low-Mach capabilities. Similar to other studies, our extrapolated entrainment rate for the helium-burning shell would lead to an unrealistic growth of the convection zone if it is applied over the lifetime of the zone. Studies at nominal stellar luminosities and different phases of the same convection zone are needed to detect a possible evolution of the entrainment rate and the impact of radiation on convective boundary mixing.« less
  5. ABSTRACT Evolved Wolf–Rayet stars form a key aspect of massive star evolution, and their strong outflows determine their final fates. In this study, we calculate grids of stellar models for a wide range of initial masses at five metallicities (ranging from solar down to just 2 per cent solar). We compare a recent hydrodynamically consistent wind prescription with two earlier frequently used wind recipes in stellar evolution and population synthesis modelling, and we present the ranges of maximum final masses at core He-exhaustion for each wind prescription and metallicity Z. Our model grids reveal qualitative differences in mass-loss behaviour of the wind prescriptions in terms of ‘convergence’. Using the prescription from Nugis & Lamers the maximum stellar black hole is found to converge to a value of 20–30 M⊙, independent of host metallicity; however, when utilizing the new physically motivated prescription from Sander & Vink there is no convergence to a maximum black hole mass value. The final mass is simply larger for larger initial He-star mass, which implies that the upper black hole limit for He-stars below the pair-instability gap is set by prior evolution with mass loss, or the pair instability itself. Quantitatively, we find the critical Z for pair-instability (ZPI) tomore »be as high as 50 per cent Z⊙, corresponding to the host metallicity of the Large Magellanic Cloud. Moreover, while the Nugis & Lamers prescription would not predict any black holes above the approx 130 M⊙ pair-instability limit, with Sander & Vink winds included, we demonstrate a potential channel for very massive helium stars to form such massive black holes at ∼2 per cent Z⊙ or below.« less
  6. Our ability to predict the structure and evolution of stars is in part limited by complex, 3D hydrodynamic processes such as convective boundary mixing. Hydrodynamic simulations help us understand the dynamics of stellar convection and convective boundaries. However, the codes used to compute such simulations are usually tested on extremely simple problems and the reliability and reproducibility of their predictions for turbulent flows is unclear. We define a test problem involving turbulent convection in a plane-parallel box, which leads to mass entrainment from, and internal-wave generation in, a stably stratified layer. We compare the outputs from the codes FLASH , MUSIC , PPMSTAR , PROMPI , and SLH , which have been widely employed to study hydrodynamic problems in stellar interiors. The convection is dominated by the largest scales that fit into the simulation box. All time-averaged profiles of velocity components, fluctuation amplitudes, and fluxes of enthalpy and kinetic energy are within ≲3 σ of the mean of all simulations on a given grid (128 3 and 256 3 grid cells), where σ describes the statistical variation due to the flow’s time dependence. They also agree well with a 512 3 reference run. The 128 3 and 256 3 simulationsmore »agree within 9% and 4%, respectively, on the total mass entrained into the convective layer. The entrainment rate appears to be set by the amount of energy that can be converted to work in our setup and details of the small-scale flows in the boundary layer seem to be largely irrelevant. Our results lend credence to hydrodynamic simulations of flows in stellar interiors. We provide in electronic form all outputs of our simulations as well as all information needed to reproduce or extend our study.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  7. Context. NGC 6522 is a moderately metal-poor bulge globular cluster ([Fe/H] ~ −1.0), and it is a well-studied representative among a number of moderately metal-poor blue horizontal branch clusters located in the bulge. The NGC 6522 abundance pattern can give hints on the earliest chemical enrichment in the central Galaxy. Aims. The aim of this study is to derive abundances of the light elements C and N; alpha elements O, Mg, Si, Ca, and Ti; odd-Z elements Na and Al; neutron-capture elements Y, Zr, Ba, La, and Nd; and the r -process element Eu. We verify if there are first- and second-generation stars: we find clear evidence of Na–Al, Na–N, and Mg–Al correlations, while we cannot identify the Na–O anti-correlation from our data. Methods. High-resolution spectra of six red giants in the bulge globular cluster NGC 6522 were obtained at the 8m VLT UT2-Kueyen telescope with both the UVES and GIRAFFE spectrographs in FLAMES+UVES configuration. In light of Gaia data, it turned out that two of them are non-members, but these were also analysed. Spectroscopic parameters were derived through the excitation and ionisation equilibrium of Fe  I and Fe  II lines from UVES spectra. The abundances were obtained with spectrummore »synthesis. Comparisons of abundances derived from UVES and GIRAFFE spectra were carried out. Results. The present analysis combined with previous UVES results gives a mean radial velocity of v r hel = −15.62±7.7 km s −1 and a metallicity of [Fe/H] = −1.05 ± 0.20 for NGC 6522. Mean abundances of alpha elements for the present four member stars are enhanced with [O/Fe] = +0.38, [Mg/Fe] = ≈+0.28, [Si/Fe] ≈ +0.19, and [Ca/Fe] ≈ +0.13, together with the iron-peak element [Ti/Fe] ≈ +0.13, and the r -process element [Eu/Fe] = +0.40. The neutron-capture elements Y, Zr, Ba, and La show enhancements in the +0.08 < [Y/Fe] < +0.90, 0.11 < [Zr/Fe] < +0.50, 0.00 < [Ba/Fe] < +0.63, 0.00 < [La/Fe] < +0.45, and −0.10 < [Nd/Fe] < +0.70 ranges. We also discuss the spread in heavy-element abundances.« less
  8. Context. NGC 6522 is a moderately metal-poor bulge globular cluster ([Fe/H]∼−1.0), and it is a well-studied representative among a number of moderately metal-poor blue horizontal branch clusters located in the bulge. The NGC 6522 abundance pattern can give hints on the earliest chemical enrichment in the central Galaxy. Aims. The aim of this study is to derive abundances of the light elements C and N; alpha elements O, Mg, Si, Ca, and Ti; odd-Z elements Na and Al; neutron-capture elements Y, Zr, Ba, La, and Nd; and the r-process element Eu. We verify if there are first- and second-generation stars: we find clear evidence of Na-Al, Na-N, and Mg-Al correlations, while we cannot identify the Na-O anti-correlation from our data. Methods. High-resolution spectra of six red giants in the bulge globular cluster NGC 6522 were obtained at the 8m VLT UT2-Kueyen telescope with both the UVES and GIRAFFE spectrographs in FLAMES+UVES configuration. In light of Gaia data, it turned out that two of them are non-members, but these were also analysed. Spectroscopic parameters were derived through the excitation and ionisation equilibrium of Fe i and Fe ii lines from UVES spectra. The abundances were obtained with spectrum synthesis. Comparisons ofmore »abundances derived from UVES and GIRAFFE spectra were carried out. Results. The present analysis combined with previous UVES results gives a mean radial velocity of vhel = −15.62±7.7 km s−1 and a r metallicity of [Fe/H] = −1.05±0.20 for NGC 6522. Mean abundances of alpha elements for the present four member stars are enhanced with [O/Fe]=+0.38, [Mg/Fe]=≈+0.28, [Si/Fe]≈+0.19, and [Ca/Fe]≈+0.13, together with the iron-peak element [Ti/Fe]≈+0.13, and the r-process element [Eu/Fe]=+0.40. The neutron-capture elements Y, Zr, Ba, and La show enhancements in the +0.08 < [Y/Fe] < +0.90, 0.11 < [Zr/Fe] < +0.50, 0.00 < [Ba/Fe] < +0.63, 0.00 < [La/Fe] < +0.45, and -0.10 < [Nd/Fe] < +0.70 ranges. We also discuss the spread in heavy-element abundances.« less
  9. 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.