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  1. Abstract We seek signatures of the current experimental 12 C α , γ 16 O reaction rate probability distribution function in the pulsation periods of carbon–oxygen white dwarf (WD) models. We find that adiabatic g-modes trapped by the interior carbon-rich layer offer potentially useful signatures of this reaction rate probability distribution function. Probing the carbon-rich region is relevant because it forms during the evolution of low-mass stars under radiative helium-burning conditions, mitigating the impact of convective mixing processes. We make direct quantitative connections between the pulsation periods of the identified trapped g-modes in variable WD models and the current experimental 12 C α , γ 16 O reaction rate probability distribution function. We find an average spread in relative period shifts of Δ P / P ≃ ±2% for the identified trapped g-modes over the ±3 σ uncertainty in the 12 C α , γ 16 O reaction rate probability distribution function—across the effective temperature range of observed DAV and DBV WDs and for different WD masses, helium shell masses, and hydrogen shell masses. The g-mode pulsation periods of observed WDs are typically given to six to seven significant figures of precision. This suggests that an astrophysical constraint on themore »12 C α , γ 16 O reaction rate could, in principle, be extractable from the period spectrum of observed variable WDs.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  2. 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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  3. Context. At present, there are strong indications that white dwarf (WD) stars with masses well below the Chandrasekhar limit ( M Ch ≈ 1.4 M ⊙ ) contribute a significant fraction of SN Ia progenitors. The relative fraction of stable iron-group elements synthesized in the explosion has been suggested as a possible discriminant between M Ch and sub- M Ch events. In particular, it is thought that the higher-density ejecta of M Ch WDs, which favours the synthesis of stable isotopes of nickel, results in prominent [Ni  II ] lines in late-time spectra (≳150 d past explosion). Aims. We study the explosive nucleosynthesis of stable nickel in SNe Ia resulting from M Ch and sub- M Ch progenitors. We explore the potential for lines of [Ni  II ] in the optical an near-infrared (at 7378 Å and 1.94 μm) in late-time spectra to serve as a diagnostic of the exploding WD mass. Methods. We reviewed stable Ni yields across a large variety of published SN Ia models. Using 1D M Ch delayed-detonation and sub- M Ch detonation models, we studied the synthesis of stable Ni isotopes (in particular, 58 Ni) and investigated the formation of [Ni  II ] lines usingmore »non-local thermodynamic equilibrium radiative-transfer simulations with the CMFGEN code. Results. We confirm that stable Ni production is generally more efficient in M Ch explosions at solar metallicity (typically 0.02–0.08 M ⊙ for the 58 Ni isotope), but we note that the 58 Ni yield in sub- M Ch events systematically exceeds 0.01 M ⊙ for WDs that are more massive than one solar mass. We find that the radiative proton-capture reaction 57 Co( p ,  γ ) 58 Ni is the dominant production mode for 58 Ni in both M Ch and sub- M Ch models, while the α -capture reaction on 54 Fe has a negligible impact on the final 58 Ni yield. More importantly, we demonstrate that the lack of [Ni  II ] lines in late-time spectra of sub- M Ch events is not always due to an under-abundance of stable Ni; rather, it results from the higher ionization of Ni in the inner ejecta. Conversely, the strong [Ni  II ] lines predicted in our 1D M Ch models are completely suppressed when 56 Ni is sufficiently mixed with the innermost layers, which are rich in stable iron-group elements. Conclusions. [Ni  II ] lines in late-time SN Ia spectra have a complex dependency on the abundance of stable Ni, which limits their use in distinguishing among M Ch and sub- M Ch progenitors. However, we argue that a low-luminosity SN Ia displaying strong [Ni  II ] lines would most likely result from a Chandrasekhar-mass progenitor.« less
  4. Abstract

    We update the capabilities of the open-knowledge software instrument Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (MESA). The newauto_diffmodule implements automatic differentiation inMESA, an enabling capability that alleviates the need for hard-coded analytic expressions or finite-difference approximations. We significantly enhance the treatment of the growth and decay of convection inMESAwith a new model for time-dependent convection, which is particularly important during late-stage nuclear burning in massive stars and electron-degenerate ignition events. We strengthenMESA’s implementation of the equation of state, and we quantify continued improvements to energy accounting and solver accuracy through a discussion of different energy equation features and enhancements. To improve the modeling of stars inMESA, we describe key updates to the treatment of stellar atmospheres, molecular opacities, Compton opacities, conductive opacities, element diffusion coefficients, and nuclear reaction rates. We introduce treatments of starspots, an important consideration for low-mass stars, and modifications for superadiabatic convection in radiation-dominated regions. We describe new approaches for increasing the efficiency of calculating monochromatic opacities and radiative levitation, and for increasing the efficiency of evolving the late stages of massive stars with a new operator-split nuclear burning mode. We close by discussing major updates toMESA’s software infrastructure that enhance source code development and communitymore »engagement.

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  5. Abstract Using ground-based gravitational-wave detectors, we probe the mass function of intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) wherein we also include BHs in the upper mass gap at ∼60–130 M ⊙ . Employing the projected sensitivity of the upcoming LIGO and Virgo fourth observing run (O4), we perform Bayesian analysis on quasi-circular nonprecessing, spinning IMBH binaries (IMBHBs) with total masses 50–500 M ⊙ , mass ratios 1.25, 4, and 10, and dimensionless spins up to 0.95, and estimate the precision with which the source-frame parameters can be measured. We find that, at 2 σ , the mass of the heavier component of IMBHBs can be constrained with an uncertainty of ∼10%–40% at a signal-to-noise ratio of 20. Focusing on the stellar-mass gap with new tabulations of the 12 C( α , γ ) 16 O reaction rate and its uncertainties, we evolve massive helium core stars using MESA to establish the lower and upper edges of the mass gap as ≃ 59 − 13 + 34 M ⊙ and ≃ 139 − 14 + 30 M ⊙ respectively, where the error bars give the mass range that follows from the ±3 σ uncertainty in the 12 C( α , γ ) 16more »O nuclear reaction rate. We find that high resolution of the tabulated reaction rate and fine temporal resolution are necessary to resolve the peak of the BH mass spectrum. We then study IMBHBs with components lying in the mass gap and show that the O4 run will be able to robustly identify most such systems. Finally, we reanalyze GW190521 with a state-of-the-art aligned-spin waveform model, finding that the primary mass lies in the mass gap with 90% credibility.« less
  6. Abstract

    Stellar evolution and numerical hydrodynamics simulations depend critically on access to fast, accurate, thermodynamically consistent equations of state. We present Skye, a new equation of state for fully ionized matter. Skye includes the effects of positrons, relativity, electron degeneracy, Coulomb interactions, nonlinear mixing effects, and quantum corrections. Skye determines the point of Coulomb crystallization in a self-consistent manner, accounting for mixing and composition effects automatically. A defining feature of this equation of state is that it uses analytic free energy terms and provides thermodynamic quantities using automatic differentiation machinery. Because of this, Skye is easily extended to include new effects by simply writing new terms in the free energy. We also introduce a novelthermodynamic extrapolationscheme for extending analytic fits to the free energy beyond the range of the fitting data while preserving desirable properties like positive entropy and sound speed. We demonstrate Skye in action in theMESAstellar evolution software instrument by computing white dwarf cooling curves.

  7. Abstract The collapse of degenerate oxygen–neon cores (i.e., electron-capture supernovae or accretion-induced collapse) proceeds through a phase in which a deflagration wave (“flame”) forms at or near the center and propagates through the star. In models, the assumed speed of this flame influences whether this process leads to an explosion or to the formation of a neutron star. We calculate the laminar flame speeds in degenerate oxygen–neon mixtures with compositions motivated by detailed stellar evolution models. These mixtures include trace amounts of carbon and have a lower electron fraction than those considered in previous work. We find that trace carbon has little effect on the flame speeds, but that material with electron fraction has laminar flame speeds that are times faster than those at . We provide tabulated flame speeds and a corresponding fitting function so that the impact of this difference can be assessed via full star hydrodynamical simulations of the collapse process.