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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 15, 2025
  2. Context. Many physical processes taking place during the evolution of binary stellar systems remain poorly understood. The ever-expanding observational sample of X-ray binaries (XRBs) makes them excellent laboratories for constraining binary evolution theory. Such constraints and useful insights can be obtained by studying the effects of various physical assumptions on synthetic X-ray luminosity functions (XLFs) and comparing them with observed XLFs. Aims. In this work we focus on high-mass X-ray binaries (HMXBs) and study the effects on the XLF of various, poorly constrained assumptions regarding physical processes, such as the common-envelope phase, core collapse, and wind-fed accretion. Methods. We used the new binary population synthesis code POSYDON , which employs extensive precomputed grids of detailed stellar structure and binary evolution models, to simulate the entire evolution of binaries. We generated 96 synthetic XRB populations corresponding to different combinations of model assumptions, including different prescriptions for supernova kicks, supernova remnant masses, common-envelope evolution, circularization at the onset of Roche-lobe overflow, and observable wind-fed accretion. Results. The generated HMXB XLFs are feature-rich, deviating from the commonly assumed single power law. We find a break in our synthetic XLF at luminosity ∼10 38 erg s −1 , similar to observed XLFs. However, we also find a general overabundance of XRBs (up to a factor of ∼10 for certain model parameter combinations) driven primarily by XRBs with black hole accretors. Assumptions about the transient behavior of Be XRBs, asymmetric supernova kicks, and common-envelope physics can significantly affect the shape and normalization of our synthetic XLFs. We find that less well-studied assumptions regarding the circularization of the orbit at the onset of Roche-lobe overflow and criteria for the formation of an X-ray-emitting accretion disk around wind-accreting black holes can also impact our synthetic XLFs and reduce the discrepancy with observations. Conclusions. Our synthetic XLFs do not always agree well with observations, especially at intermediate X-ray luminosities, which is likely due to uncertainties in the adopted physical assumptions. While some model parameters leave distinct imprints on the shape of the synthetic XLFs and can reduce this deviation, others do not have a significant effect overall. Our study reveals the importance of large-scale parameter studies, highlighting the power of XRBs in constraining binary evolution theory. 
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  3. Abstract

    Mass measurements from low-mass black hole X-ray binaries (LMXBs) and radio pulsars have been used to identify a gap between the most massive neutron stars (NSs) and the least massive black holes (BHs). BH mass measurements in LMXBs are typically only possible for transient systems: outburst periods enable detection via all-sky X-ray monitors, while quiescent periods enable radial velocity measurements of the low-mass donor. We quantitatively study selection biases due to the requirement of transient behavior for BH mass measurements. Using rapid population synthesis simulations (COSMIC), detailed binary stellar-evolution models (MESA), and the disk instability model of transient behavior, we demonstrate that transient LMXB selection effects introduce observational biases, and can suppress mass-gap BHs in the observed sample. However, we find a population of transient LMXBs with mass-gap BHs form through accretion-induced collapse of an NS during the LMXB phase, which is inconsistent with observations. These results are robust against variations of binary evolution prescriptions. The significance of this accretion-induced collapse population depends upon the maximum NS birth massMNS,birthmax. To reflect the observed dearth of low-mass BHs,COSMICandMESAmodels favorMNS,birthmax2M. In the absence of further observational biases against LMXBs with mass-gap BHs, our results indicate the need for additional physics connected to the modeling of LMXB formation and evolution.

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  4. Abstract

    When a compact object is formed in a binary, any mass lost during core collapse will impart a kick on the binary’s center of mass. Asymmetries in this mass loss or neutrino emission would impart an additional natal kick on the remnant black hole or neutron star, whether it was formed in a binary or in isolation. While it is well established that neutron stars receive natal kicks upon formation, it is unclear whether black holes do as well. Here, we consider the low-mass X-ray binary MAXI J1305-704, which has been reported to have a space velocity ≳200 km s−1. In addition to integrating its trajectory to infer its velocity upon formation of its black hole, we account for recent estimates of its period, black hole mass, mass ratio, and donor effective temperature from photometric and spectroscopic observations. We find that if MAXI J1305-704 formed via isolated binary evolution in the thick Galactic disk, then the supernova that formed its black hole imparted a natal kick of at least 70 km s−1while ejecting less than ≃1Mwith 95% confidence assuming uninformative priors on mass loss and natal kick velocity.

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    We revisit the tidally excited oscillations (TEOs) in the A-type main-sequence eccentric binary KOI-54, the prototype of heartbeat stars. Although the linear tidal response of the star is a series of orbital-harmonic frequencies which are not stellar eigenfrequencies, we show that the non-linearly excited non-orbital-harmonic TEOs are eigenmodes. By carefully choosing the modes which satisfy the mode-coupling selection rules, a period spacing (ΔP) pattern of quadrupole gravity modes (ΔP ≈ 2520–2535 s) can be discerned in the Fourier spectrum, with a detection significance level of $99.9{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$. The inferred period spacing value agrees remarkably well with the theoretical l = 2, m = 0 g modes from a stellar model with the measured mass, radius, and effective temperature. We also find that the two largest-amplitude TEOs at N = 90, 91 harmonics are very close to resonance with l = 2, m = 0 eigenmodes, and likely come from different stars. Previous works on tidal oscillations primarily focus on the modelling of TEO amplitudes and phases, the high sensitivity of TEO amplitude to the frequency detuning (tidal forcing frequency minus the closest stellar eigenfrequency) requires extremely dense grids of stellar models and prevents us from constraining the stellar physical parameters easily. This work, however, opens the window of real tidal asteroseismology by using the eigenfrequencies of the star inferred from the non-linear TEOs and possibly very-close-to-resonance linear TEOs. Our seismic modelling of these identified eigen g-modes shows that the best-matching stellar models have (M ≈ 2.20, 2.35 M⊙) and super-solar metallicity, in good agreement with previous measurements.

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  6. After eukaryotic fertilization, gamete nuclei migrate to fuse parental genomes in order to initiate development of the next generation. In most animals, microtubules control female and male pronuclear migration in the zygote. Flowering plants, on the other hand, have evolved actin filament (F-actin)-based sperm nuclear migration systems for karyogamy. Flowering plants have also evolved a unique double-fertilization process: two female gametophytic cells, the egg and central cells, are each fertilized by a sperm cell. The molecular and cellular mechanisms of how flowering plants utilize and control F-actin for double-fertilization events are largely unknown. Using confocal microscopy live-cell imaging with a combination of pharmacological and genetic approaches, we identified factors involved in F-actin dynamics and sperm nuclear migration inArabidopsis thaliana(Arabidopsis) andNicotiana tabacum(tobacco). We demonstrate that the F-actin regulator, SCAR2, but not the ARP2/3 protein complex, controls the coordinated active F-actin movement. These results imply that an ARP2/3-independent WAVE/SCAR-signaling pathway regulates F-actin dynamics in female gametophytic cells for fertilization. We also identify that the class XI myosin XI-G controls active F-actin movement in theArabidopsiscentral cell. XI-G is not a simple transporter, moving cargos along F-actin, but can generate forces that control the dynamic movement of F-actin for fertilization. Our results provide insights into the mechanisms that control gamete nuclear migration and reveal regulatory pathways for dynamic F-actin movement in flowering plants.

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