In his first astronomy paper, PhD student Jakub Cehula looks at how is mass transfer in binary stars calculated in 1D stellar evolution codes. These codes work and produce binary evolutionary tracks so why look at this?Continue reading “A theory of mass transfer in binary stars”
Master thesis defended
Congratulations to David Vokrouhlický who defended his Master thesis on Structure and evolution of stars deformed by a nearby companion with flying colors.
Diego Calderón is leaving us after a bit more than 3 years in Prague. Diego is moving to start his second postdoc in Hamburg in the group of Prof. Rosswog. We are sad to see him go, but wish him good luck!
Visit at University of Surrey
On Feb 16-17 I visited University of Surrey, where I gave a talk, had nice discussions with students and postdocs, and learned bunch of new things.
Post-dynamical inspiral phase of common envelope evolution: binary orbit evolution and angular momentum transport
In a new paper, Damien Gagnier looks at what happens during late stages of common envelope after the companion plunges in and the two cores orbit in a shared envelope. In the simulations, we mimick the plunge-in by depositing angular momentum in the envelope in a controlled way and study transport of angular momentum by advection, turbulence, gravitational torques, and viscosity. We find that the binary orbit decays on a timescale of 10^3 to 10^5 orbits of the central binary suggesting that the orbit will continue shrinking for a long time. This might help resolving the discrepancy between simulations and observed final binary separations. Although too slow to directly study with multi-d hydro, the evolution is often much faster than the envelope thermal timescale – perhaps there is no need for any thermal “self-regulation” of the late inspiral. This also lends support to the usual energy-conserving alpha formalism. Interestingly, much of the hydrodynamics is very similar to circumbinary disks. For example, the “lump” is also seen, but it is more of a 3D phenomenon rather than a well-localized object. 3D simulations were done with Athena++ in spherical coordinates with AMR. By excising a sphere around the binary, the simulations can be run for 100s of orbits of the central binary. The cost was ~4.6 million CPU hours at IT4Innovations. The paper is at https://arxiv.org/abs/2302.00691
Computing time at IT4I
Our postdocs were again successful in obtaining supercomputer time on the Czech supercomputer infrastructure IT4Innovations. Diego Calderón won 2.2 million CPU hours to perform radiation hydrodynamics simulations of transients. Damien Gagnier won 12.3 million CPU hours on the brand new Karolina cluster to perform 3D hydrodynamic simulations of common envelope.
Mass-ratio distribution of contact binary stars
First paper by PhD student Milan Pešta developing a method to estimate mass-ratio distribution of contact binaries simply from the distribution of their light curve amplitudes. This was originally proposed by Rucinski (2001), but in this paper we reach sufficient sensitivity to determine the minimum mass ratio, when contact binaries merge due to the Darwin instability. This is possible thanks to a new Bayesian method to filter contaminants and Kepler data. The method can be easily extended to much bigger samples from TESS or Gaia. The paper is submitted to A&A and the preprint can be accessed at https://arxiv.org/abs/2212.02553.
The Impact of Binaries on Stellar Evolution
In mid-November we traveled to Garching, Germany, for MIAPbP workshop “The Impact of Binaries on Stellar Evolution”. Our group got 4 talks and 2 poster presentations! Very exciting and fun meeting.
OGLE-BLG504.12.201843: A possible extreme dwarf nova
Dwarf nova with regular year-long outbursts? Sounds crazy, but that’s what Camille Landri finds in her first paper by analyzing photometry and spectra of this OGLE object. Plus there are mini-flares, changing shape of phased light curve, and head-scratching line profiles.
Trip to Valašské Meziříčí
Just like last year, this September we travelled to Observatory at Valašské Meziříčí to gain hands-on experience with telescopes and photometry. Unfortunately, the weather was extremely bad and it rained almost the whole time. But we still toured the observatory, learned about telescopes and detectors, and enjoyed sights and events nearby.