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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025

    Current prescriptions for supernova natal kicks in rapid binary population synthesis simulations are based on fits of simple functions to single pulsar velocity data. We explore a new parametrization of natal kicks received by neutron stars in isolated and binary systems developed by Mandel & Müller, which is based on 1D models and 3D supernova simulations, and accounts for the physical correlations between progenitor properties, remnant mass, and the kick velocity. We constrain two free parameters in this model using very long baseline interferometry velocity measurements of Galactic single pulsars. We find that the inferred values of natal kick parameters do not differ significantly between single and binary evolution scenarios. The best-fitting values of these parameters are $v$ns = 520 km s−1 for the scaling prefactor for neutron star kicks, and σns = 0.3 for the fractional stochastic scatter in the kick velocities.

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    Understanding the natal kicks received by neutron stars (NSs) during formation is a critical component of modelling the evolution of massive binaries. Natal kicks are an integral input parameter for population synthesis codes, and have implications for the formation of double NS systems and their subsequent merger rates. However, many of the standard observational kick distributions that are used are obtained from samples created only from isolated NSs. Kick distributions derived in this way overestimate the intrinsic NS kick distribution. For NSs in binaries, we can only directly estimate the effect of the natal kick on the binary system, instead of the natal kick received by the NS itself. Here, for the first time, we present a binary kick distribution for NSs with low-mass companions. We compile a catalogue of 145 NSs in low-mass binaries with the best available constraints on proper motion, distance, and systemic radial velocity. For each binary, we use a three-dimensional approach to estimate its binary kick. We discuss the implications of these kicks on system formation, and provide a parametric model for the overall binary kick distribution, for use in future theoretical modelling work. We compare our results with other work on isolated NSs and NSs in binaries, finding that the NS kick distributions fit using only isolated pulsars underestimate the fraction of NSs that receive low kicks. We discuss the implications of our results on modelling double NS systems, and provide suggestions on how to use our results in future theoretical works.

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  4. Abstract

    The role of recombination during a common-envelope event has been long debated. Many studies have argued that much of hydrogen recombination energy, which is radiated in relatively cool and optically thin layers, might not thermalize in the envelope. On the other hand, helium recombination contains ≈30 per cent of the total recombination energy, and occurs much deeper in the stellar envelope. We investigate the distinct roles played by hydrogen and helium recombination in a common-envelope interaction experienced by a 12 $\, \rm {M}_{\odot }$ red supergiant donor. We perform adiabatic, 3D hydrodynamical simulations that (i) include hydrogen, helium, and H2 recombination, (ii) include hydrogen and helium recombination, (iii) include only helium recombination, and (iv) do not include recombination energy. By comparing these simulations, we find that the addition of helium recombination energy alone ejects 30 per cent more envelope mass, and leads to a 16 per cent larger post-plunge-in separation. Under the adiabatic assumption, adding hydrogen recombination energy increases the amount of ejected mass by a further 40 per cent, possibly unbinding the entire envelope, but does not affect the post-plunge separation. Most of the ejecta becomes unbound at relatively high (>70 per cent) degrees of hydrogen ionisation, where the hydrogen recombination energy is likely to expand the envelope instead of being radiated away.

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  5. Abstract

    Gravitational-wave detections are enabling measurements of the rate of coalescences of binaries composed of two compact objects—neutron stars and/or black holes. The coalescence rate of binaries containing neutron stars is further constrained by electromagnetic observations, including Galactic radio binary pulsars and short gamma-ray bursts. Meanwhile, increasingly sophisticated models of compact objects merging through a variety of evolutionary channels produce a range of theoretically predicted rates. Rapid improvements in instrument sensitivity, along with plans for new and improved surveys, make this an opportune time to summarise the existing observational and theoretical knowledge of compact-binary coalescence rates.

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  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024

    Making the most of the rapidly increasing population of gravitational-wave detections of black hole (BH) and neutron star (NS) mergers requires comparing observations with population synthesis predictions. In this work, we investigate the combined impact from the key uncertainties in population synthesis modelling of the isolated binary evolution channel: the physical processes in massive binary-star evolution and the star formation history as a function of metallicity, Z, and redshift z, $\mathcal {S}(Z,z)$. Considering these uncertainties, we create 560 different publicly available model realizations and calculate the rate and distribution characteristics of detectable BHBH, BHNS, and NSNS mergers. We find that our stellar evolution and $\mathcal {S}(Z,z)$ variations can combined impact the predicted intrinsic and detectable merger rates by factors in the range 102–104. We find that BHBH rates are dominantly impacted by $\mathcal {S}(Z,z)$ variations, NSNS rates by stellar evolution variations and BHNS rates by both. We then consider the combined impact from all uncertainties considered in this work on the detectable mass distribution shapes (chirp mass, individual masses, and mass ratio). We find that the BHNS mass distributions are predominantly impacted by massive binary-star evolution changes. For BHBH and NSNS, we find that both uncertainties are important. We also find that the shape of the delay time and birth metallicity distributions are typically dominated by the choice of $\mathcal {S}(Z,z)$ for BHBH, BHNS, and NSNS. We identify several examples of robust features in the mass distributions predicted by all 560 models, such that we expect more than 95 per cent of BHBH detections to contain a BH $\gtrsim 8\, \rm {M}_{\odot }$ and have mass ratios ≲ 4. Our work demonstrates that it is essential to consider a wide range of allowed models to study double compact object merger rates and properties. Conversely, larger observed samples could allow us to decipher currently unconstrained stages of stellar and binary evolution.

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  8. null (Ed.)
  9. 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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