Letter to the Editor
Binary star progenitors of long gamma-ray bursts
Institute for Astronomy (IfA)Astronomical Institute, Utrecht University, Princetonplein 5, 3584 CC Utrecht, The Netherlands e-mail: email@example.com
2 Astronomical Institute Anton Pannekoek, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
3 Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
Accepted: 20 February 2007
Context.The collapsar model for long gamma-ray bursts requires a rapidly rotating Wolf-Rayet star as progenitor.
Aims.We test the idea of producing rapidly rotating Wolf-Rayet stars in massive close binaries through mass accretion and consecutive quasi-chemically homogeneous evolution – the latter had previously been shown to provide collapsars below a certain metallicity threshold.
Methods.We use a 1D hydrodynamic binary evolution code to simulate the evolution of a 16+15 binary model with an initial orbital period of 5 days and SMC metallicity (). Internal differential rotation, rotationally induced mixing and magnetic fields are included in both components, as well as non-conservative mass and angular momentum transfer, and tidal spin-orbit coupling.
Results.The considered binary system undergoes early Case B mass transfer. The mass donor becomes a helium star and dies as a type Ib/c supernova. The mass gainer is spun-up, and internal magnetic fields efficiently transport accreted angular momentum into the stellar core. The orbital widening prevents subsequent tidal synchronization, and the mass gainer rejuvenates and evolves quasi-chemically homogeneously thereafter. The mass donor explodes 7 Myr before the collapse of the mass gainer. Assuming the binary to be broken-up by the supernova kick, the potential gamma-ray burst progenitor would become a runaway star with a space velocity of 27, traveling about 200 pc during its remaining lifetime.
Conclusions.The binary channel presented here does not, as such, provide a new physical model for collapsar production, as the resulting stellar models are almost identical to quasi-chemically homogeneously evolving rapidly rotating single stars. However, it may provide a means for massive stars to obtain the required high rotation rates. Moreover, it suggests that a possibly large fraction of long gamma-ray bursts occurs in runaway stars.
Key words: stars: binaries: general / stars: rotation / stars: evolution / stars: mass-loss / supernovae: general / gamma rays: bursts
© ESO, 2007