Volume 629, September 2019
|Number of page(s)||13|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||11 September 2019|
The eccentric behaviour of windy binary stars
Department of Astrophysics/IMAPP, Radboud University, PO Box 9010 6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
2 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
Accepted: 3 June 2019
Carbon-enhanced metal-poor stars, CH stars, barium stars, and extrinsic S stars, among other classes of chemically peculiar stars, are thought to be the products of the interaction of low- and intermediate-mass binaries, which occurred when the most evolved star was in the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) phase. Binary evolution models predict that because of the large sizes of AGB stars, if the initial orbital periods of such systems are shorter than a few thousand days, their orbits should have circularised due to tidal effects. However, observations of the progeny of AGB binary stars show that many of these objects have substantial eccentricities, up to e ≈ 0.9. In this work we explore the impact of wind mass transfer on the orbital parameters of AGB binary stars by performing numerical simulations in which the AGB wind is modelled using a hydrodynamical code and the dynamics of the stars is evolved using an N-body code. We find that in most models the effect of wind mass transfer contributes to the circularisation of the orbit, but on longer timescales than tidal circularisation if e ≲ 0.4. For relatively low initial wind velocities and pseudo-synchronisation of the donor star, we find a structure resembling wind Roche-lobe overflow as the stars approach periastron. In this case, the interaction between the gas and the star is stronger than when the initial wind velocity is high and the orbit shrinks while the eccentricity decreases. In one of our models wind interaction is found to pump the eccentricity of the orbit on a similar timescale as tidal circularisation. However, since the orbit of this model is shrinking tidal effects will become stronger during the evolution of the system. Although our study is based on a small sample of models, it offers some insight into the orbital evolution of eccentric binary stars interacting via winds. A larger grid of numerical models for different binary parameters is needed to test if a regime exists where hydrodynamical eccentricity pumping can effectively counteract tidal circularisation, and if this can explain the puzzling eccentricities of the descendants of AGB binaries.
Key words: binaries: general / stars: evolution / stars: AGB and post-AGB / hydrodynamics / stars: winds / outflows / stars: chemically peculiar
© ESO 2019
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