Robert Izzard's Pages of Astronomical Happiness


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  Robert Izzard's Published Papers
To the left you will find links to my papers in chronological order.
There are also links to my PhD thesis.

Recent highlights:

Modelling the observed properties of carbon-enhanced metal-poor stars using binary population synthesis
C. Abate, O. R. Pols, R.J. Stancliffe, R. G. Izzard, A. I. Karakas, T. C. Beers, Y. S. Lee
The stellar population in the Galactic halo is characterised by a large fraction of CEMP stars. Most CEMP stars are enriched in s-elements (CEMP-s stars), and some of these are also enriched in r-elements (CEMP-s/r stars). One formation scenario proposed for CEMP stars invokes wind mass transfer in the past from a TP-AGB primary star to a less massive companion star which is presently observed. We generate low-metallicity populations of binary stars to reproduce the observed CEMP-star fraction. In addition, we aim to constrain our wind mass-transfer model and investigate under which conditions our synthetic populations reproduce observed abundance distributions. We compare the CEMP fractions and the abundance distributions determined from our synthetic populations with observations. Several physical parameters of the binary stellar population of the halo are uncertain, e.g. the initial mass function, the mass-ratio and orbital-period distributions, and the binary fraction. We vary the assumptions in our model about these parameters, as well as the wind mass-transfer process, and study the consequent variations of our synthetic CEMP population. The CEMP fractions calculated in our synthetic populations vary between 7% and 17%, a range consistent with the CEMP fractions among very metal-poor stars recently derived from the SDSS/SEGUE data sample. The results of our comparison between the modelled and observed abundance distributions are different for CEMP-s/r stars and for CEMP-s stars. For the latter, our simulations qualitatively reproduce the observed distributions of C, Na, Sr, Ba, Eu, and Pb. Contrarily, for CEMP-s/r stars our model cannot reproduce the large abundances of neutron-rich elements such as Ba, Eu, and Pb. This result is consistent with previous studies, and suggests that CEMP-s/r stars experienced a different nucleosynthesis history to CEMP-s stars.
Evolution of mass functions of coeval stars through wind mass loss and binary interactions
F.R.N. Schneider, R.G. Izzard, N. Langer, S.E. de Mink

High-mass end ofthe mass functions of coeval stellar populations with different IMF slopes and metallicities.
Accurate determinations of stellar mass functions and ages of stellar populations are crucial to much of astrophysics. We analyse the evolution of stellar mass functions of coeval main sequence stars including all relevant aspects of single- and binary-star evolution. We show that the slope of the upper part of the mass function in a stellar cluster can be quite different to the slope of the initial mass function. Wind mass loss from massive stars leads to an accumulation of stars which is visible as a peak at the high mass end of mass functions, thereby flattening the mass function slope. Mass accretion and mergers in close binary systems create a tail of rejuvenated binary products. These blue straggler stars extend the single star mass function by up to a factor of two in mass and can appear up to ten times younger than their parent stellar cluster. Cluster ages derived from their most massive stars that are close to the turn-off may thus be significantly biased. To overcome such difficulties, we propose the use of the binary tail of stellar mass functions as an unambiguous clock to derive the cluster age because the location of the onset of the binary tail identifies the cluster turn-off mass. It is indicated by a pronounced jump in the mass function of old stellar populations and by the wind mass loss peak in young stellar populations. We further characterise the binary induced blue straggler population in star clusters in terms of their frequency, binary fraction and apparent age.
The proper motion of HV2112: A TŻO candidate in the SMC
C.C. Worley, M.J. Irwin, C.A. Tout, A.N. Żytkow, M.F., R.G. Izzard
The candidate Thorne-\.{Z}ytkow object (T\.{Z}O), HV2112, is becoming a well-studied if enigmatic object. A key point of its candidacy as a T\.{Z}O is whether or not it resides in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). HV2112 has detections in a series of photometric catalogues which have resulted in contradictory estimates of its proper motion and, therefore, its membership within the SMC. This letter seeks to resolve the issue of the SMC membership of HV2112 through a reanalysis of extant photometric data. We also demonstrate the difficulties and downfalls inherent in considering a range of catalogue proper motions. We conclude that the proper motion, and associated ancillary radial velocity, positional and photometric properties, are fully consistent with HV2112 being within the SMC and thus it remains a candidate T\.{Z}O.
The interaction of core-collapse supernova ejecta with a companion star
Z. Liu, T.M. Tauris, F.K. Roepke, T.J. Moriya, M. Kruckow, R.J. Stancliffe, R.G. Izzard
The progenitors of many CCSNe are expected to be in binary systems. After the SN explosion, the companion may suffer from mass stripping and be shock heated as a result of the impact of the SN ejecta. If the binary system is disrupted, the companion is ejected as a runaway and hypervelocity star. By performing a series of 3D hydrodynamical simulations of the collision of SN ejecta with the companion star, we investigate how CCSN explosions affect their companions. We use the BEC code to construct the detailed companion structure at the time of SN explosion. The impact of the SN blast wave on the companion is followed by means of 3D SPH simulations using the Stellar GADGET code. For main-sequence (MS) companions, we find that the amount of removed mass, impact velocity, and chemical contamination of the companion that results from the impact of the SN ejecta, strongly increases with decreasing binary separation and increasing explosion energy. Their relationship can be approximately fitted by power laws, which is consistent with the results obtained from impact simulations of SNe~Ia. However, we find that the impact velocity is sensitive to the momentum profile of the outer SN ejecta and, in fact, may decrease with increasing ejecta mass, depending on the modeling of the ejecta. Because most companions to Ib/c CCSNe are in their MS phase at the moment of the explosion, combined with the strongly decaying impact effects with increasing binary separation, we argue that the majority of these SNe lead to inefficient mass stripping and shock heating of the companion star following the impact of the ejecta. Our simulations show that the impact effects of Ib/c SN ejecta on the structure of MS companions, and thus their long-term post-explosion evolution, is in general not dramatic. We find that at most 10% of their mass is lost, and their resulting impact velocities are less than 100 km/s.
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