Institute of Astronomy

Theory of Common Envelope Evolution

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Natalia Ivanova26 July 2016Binary Stars Talks


Common-envelope events capture the imagination and are visually impressive, energetically noteworthy, and dramatically fate-defining episodes in the lives of close binary systems. During a common envelope event, two stars temporarily orbit within a shared envelope, and the episode ends with an exciting outburst, leaving behind either a significantly shrunk binary, or a single merged star. These episodes are believed to be vital for the formation of a wide range of extremely important astrophysical objects, including X-ray binaries, cataclysmic variables, close double-neutron stars, and the potential progenitors of Type Ia supernovae and gamma-ray bursts. While the problem is almost 40 years old, its theoretical foundation started to progress from the first simplified consideration only very recently, with the advances in our understanding of stellar structure, improvements of the numerical techniques for hydrodynamical simulations as well as recent observations of the Transient Universe. In this talk I will review the basics of the common envelope physics - the stages and the processes that are involved, and the recent progress that was made by the inclusion of recombination physics for understanding of the ejection during the plunge-in and during the slow spiral-in.


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