Common envelope evolution of massive binary stars

Ronald E. Taam*, Eric L. Sandquist

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

204 Scopus citations


The common envelope phase of binary star evolution plays an essential role in the formation of short period systems containing a compact object. In this process, significant mass and angular momentum are lost, transforming a wide progenitor system into a close remnant binary. The pathways leading to this phase and the outcomes are described. Emphasis is placed on the conditions that are required for survival of the binary according to the results of three-dimensional hydrodynamics calculations. The evolution of high-mass systems containing neutron stars is discussed, including double neutron stars, binary pulsars, Thorne-Zytkow objects, and high-and low-mass X-ray binaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-141
Number of pages29
JournalAnnual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


  • Close binaries
  • Hydrodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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