Interacting binaries with eccentric orbits. ii. secular orbital evolution due to non-conservative mass transfer

J. F. Sepinsky, B. Willems, V. Kalogera, F. A. Rasio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

We investigate the secular evolution of the orbital semimajor axis and eccentricity due to mass transfer in eccentric binaries, allowing for both mass and angular momentum loss from the system. Adopting a delta function mass transfer rate at the periastron of the binary orbit, we find that, depending on the initial binary properties at the onset of mass transfer, the orbital semimajor axis and eccentricity can either increase or decrease at a rate linearly proportional to the magnitude of the mass transfer rate at periastron. The range of initial binary mass ratios and eccentricities that lead to increasing orbital semimajor axes and eccentricities broadens with increasing degrees of mass loss from the system and narrows with increasing orbital angular momentum loss from the binary. Comparison with tidal evolution timescales shows that the usual assumption of rapid circularization at the onset of mass transfer in eccentric binaries is not justified, irrespective of the degree of systemic mass and angular momentum loss. This work extends our previous results for conservative mass transfer in eccentric binaries and can be incorporated into binary evolution and population synthesis codes to model non-conservative mass transfer in eccentric binaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1387-1392
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume702
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009

Keywords

  • Binaries: close
  • Celestial mechanics
  • Stars: mass loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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