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    Understanding the radii of massive stars throughout their evolution is important to answering numerous questions about stellar physics, from binary interactions on the main sequence to the pre-supernova radii. One important factor determining a star’s radius is the fraction of its mass in elements heavier than Helium (metallicity, Z). However, the metallicity enters stellar evolution through several distinct microphysical processes, and which dominates can change throughout stellar evolution and with the overall magnitude of Z. We perform a series of numerical experiments with 15 $\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$mesa models computed doubling separately the metallicity entering the radiative opacity, the equation of state, and the nuclear reaction network to isolate the impact of each on stellar radii. We explore separately models centred around two metallicity values: one near solar Z = 0.02 and another sub-solar Z ∼ 10−3, and consider several key epochs from the end of the main sequence to core carbon depletion. We find that the metallicity entering the opacity dominates at most epochs for the solar metallicity models, contributing to on average ∼60–90 per cent of the total change in stellar radius. Nuclear reactions have a larger impact (∼50–70 per cent) during most epochs in the subsolar Z models. The methodology introduced heremore »can be employed more generally to propagate known microphysics errors into uncertainties on macrophysical observables including stellar radii.

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  2. Abstract

    The core collapse of rapidly rotating massive ∼ 10Mstars (“collapsars”), and the resulting formation of hyperaccreting black holes, comprise a leading model for the central engines of long-duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and promising sources ofr-process nucleosynthesis. Here, we explore the signatures of collapsars from progenitors with helium cores ≳ 130Mabove the pair-instability mass gap. While the rapid collapse to a black hole likely precludes prompt explosions in these systems, we demonstrate that disk outflows can generate a large quantity (up to ≳ 50M) of ejecta, comprised of ≳ 5–10Minr-process elements and ∼ 0.1–1Mof56Ni, expanding at velocities ∼0.1 c. Radioactive heating of the disk wind ejecta powers an optical/IR transient, with a characteristic luminosity ∼ 1042erg s−1and a spectral peak in the near-IR (due to the high optical/UV opacities of lanthanide elements), similar to kilonovae from neutron star mergers, but with longer durations ≳1 month. These “super-kilonovae” (superKNe) herald the birth of massive black holes ≳ 60M, which—as a result of disk wind mass loss—can populate the pair-instability mass gap “from above,” and could potentially create the binary components of GW190521. SuperKNe could be discovered via wide-field surveys, such as those planned with the Roman Space Telescope, or via late-timemore »IR follow-up observations of extremely energetic GRBs. Multiband gravitational waves of ∼ 0.1–50 Hz from nonaxisymmetric instabilities in self-gravitating massive collapsar disks are potentially detectable by proposed observatories out to hundreds of Mpc; in contrast to the “chirp” from binary mergers, the collapsar gravitational-wave signal decreases in frequency as the disk radius grows (“sad trombone”).

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  3. Abstract

    Gravitational-wave (GW) detections of binary black hole (BH) mergers have begun to sample the cosmic BH mass distribution. The evolution of single stellar cores predicts a gap in the BH mass distribution due to pair-instability supernovae (PISNe). Determining the upper and lower edges of the BH mass gap can be useful for interpreting GW detections of merging BHs. We useMESAto evolve single, nonrotating, massive helium cores with a metallicity ofZ= 10−5, until they either collapse to form a BH or explode as a PISN, without leaving a compact remnant. We calculate the boundaries of the lower BH mass gap for S-factors in the range S(300 keV) = (77,203) keV b, corresponding to the ±3σuncertainty in our high-resolution tabulated12C(α,γ)16O reaction rate probability distribution function. We extensively test temporal and spatial resolutions for resolving the theoretical peak of the BH mass spectrum across the BH mass gap. We explore the convergence with respect to convective mixing and nuclear burning, finding that significant time resolution is needed to achieve convergence. We also test adopting a minimum diffusion coefficient to help lower-resolution models reach convergence. We establish a new lower edge of the upper mass gap asMlower6014+32Mfrom the ±3σuncertainty inmore »the12C(α,γ)16O rate. We explore the effect of a larger 3αrate on the lower edge of the upper mass gap, findingMlower6918+34M. We compare our results with BHs reported in the Gravitational-Wave Transient Catalog.

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  4. Abstract

    Periodic variables illuminate the physical processes of stars throughout their lifetime. Wide-field surveys continue to increase our discovery rates of periodic variable stars. Automated approaches are essential to identify interesting periodic variable stars for multiwavelength and spectroscopic follow-up. Here we present a novel unsupervised machine-learning approach to hunt for anomalous periodic variables using phase-folded light curves presented in the Zwicky Transient Facility Catalogue of Periodic Variable Stars by Chen et al. We use a convolutional variational autoencoder to learn a low-dimensional latent representation, and we search for anomalies within this latent dimension via an isolation forest. We identify anomalies with irregular variability. Most of the top anomalies are likely highly variable red giants or asymptotic giant branch stars concentrated in the Milky Way galactic disk; a fraction of the identified anomalies are more consistent with young stellar objects. Detailed spectroscopic follow-up observations are encouraged to reveal the nature of these anomalies.

  5. The coalescence of two neutron stars was recently observed in a multi-messenger detection of gravitational wave (GW) and electromagnetic (EM) radiation. Binary neutron stars that merge within a Hubble time, as well as many other compact binaries, are expected to form via common envelope evolution. Yet five decades of research on common envelope evolution have not yet resulted in a satisfactory understanding of the multi-spatial multi-timescale evolution for the systems that lead to compact binaries. In this paper, we report on the first successful simulations of common envelope ejection leading to binary neutron star formation in 3D hydrodynamics. We simulate the dynamical inspiral phase of the interaction between a 12 M⊙ red supergiant and a 1.4 M⊙ neutron star for different initial separations and initial conditions. For all of our simulations, we find complete envelope ejection and a final orbital separation of ≈1.1 - 2.8R⊙ , leading to a binary neutron star that will merge within 0.01-1 Gyr. We find an αCE -equivalent efficiency of ≈0.1 - 0.4 for the models we study, but this may be specific for these extended progenitors. We fully resolve the core of the star to ≲0.005R⊙ and our 3D hydrodynamics simulations are informed bymore »an adjusted 1D analytic energy formalism and a 2D kinematics study in order to overcome the prohibitive computational cost of simulating these systems. The framework we develop in this paper can be used to simulate a wide variety of interactions between stars, from stellar mergers to common envelope episodes leading to GW sources.« less