Adiabatic mass loss and the outcome of the common envelope phase of binary evolution

Christopher J. Deloye, Ronald E. Taam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


We have developed a new method for calculating common envelope (CE) events based on explicit consideration of the donor star's structural response to adiabatic mass loss. In contrast to existing CE prescriptions, which specify a priori the donor's remnant mass, we determine this quantity self-consistently and find that it depends on binary and CE parameters. This aspect of our model is particularly important to realistic modeling for upper main-sequence star donors without strongly degenerate cores (and hence without a clear core/envelope boundary). We illustrate the central features of our method by considering CE events involving 10 M donors on or before their red giant branch. For such donors, the remnant core mass can be as much as 30% larger than the star's He-core mass. Applied across a population of such binaries, our methodology results in a significantly broader remnant mass and final orbital separation distribution and a 20% increase in CE survival rates as compared to previous prescriptions for the CE phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L28-L31
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1 PART 2
StatePublished - Aug 10 2010


  • Binaries: close
  • Stars: evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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