Mass transfer in eccentric binary systems using the binary evolution code BINSTAR
Institut d’Astronomie et d’Astrophysique (IAA), Université Libre de
Bruxelles, ULB, CP226, Boulevard du Triomphe, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Accepted: 24 May 2013
Context. Studies of interacting binary systems typically assume that tidal forces have circularized the orbit by the time Roche lobe overflow (RLOF) commences. However, recent observations of ellipsoidal variables have challenged this assumption.
Aims. We present the first calculations of mass transfer via RLOF for a binary system with a significant eccentricity using our new binary stellar evolution code. The study focuses on a 1.50+1.40 M⊙ main sequence binary with an eccentricity of 0.25, and an orbital period of Porb ≈ 0.7 d. The reaction of the stellar components due to mass transfer is analysed, and the evolution of mass transfer during the periastron passage is compared to recent smooth particle hydrodynamics (SPH) simulations. The impact of asynchronism and non-zero eccentricity on the Roche lobe radius, and the effects of tidal and rotational deformation on the stars’ structures, are also investigated.
Methods. Calculations were performed using the state-of-the-art binary evolution code BINSTAR, which calculates simultaneously the structure of the two stars and the evolution of the orbital parameters.
Results. The evolution of the mass transfer rate during an orbit has a Gaussian-like shape, with a maximum at periastron, in qualitative agreement with SPH simulations. The Roche lobe radius is modified by the donor star’s spin and the orbital eccentricity. This has a significant impact on both the duration and the rate of mass transfer. We find that below some critical rotation rate, mass transfer never occurs, while above some threshold, mass is transferred over the entire orbit. Tidal and rotational deformation of the donor star causes it to become over-sized, enhancing the mass transfer rate further by up to about a factor of ten, leading to non-conservative mass transfer. The modulation of the mass transfer rate with orbital phase produces short-term variability in the surface luminosity and radius of each star. The longer-term behaviour shows, in accordance with studies of circular systems with radiative stars, that the donor becomes ever small and under-luminous, while the converse is the case for the accretor.
Key words: binaries: general - binaries: close / stars: evolution / methods: numerical
© ESO, 2013