Journal Article

Angular momentum and mass evolution of contact binaries

K. Gazeas and K. Stȩpień

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 390, issue 4, pages 1577-1586
Published in print November 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online October 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13844.x
Angular momentum and mass evolution of contact binaries

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Various scenarios of contact binary evolution have been proposed in the past, giving hints of (sometimes contradictory) evolutionary sequences connecting A- and W-type systems. As the components of close detached binaries approach each other and contact binaries are formed, following evolutionary paths transforms them into systems of two categories: A-type and W-type. The systems evolve in a similar way but under slightly different circumstances. The mass/energy transfer rate is different, leading to quite different evolutionary results. An alternative scenario of evolution in contact is presented and discussed, based on the observational data of over one hundred low-temperature contact binaries. It results from the observed correlations among contact binary physical and orbital parameters. Theoretical tracks are computed assuming angular momentum loss from a system via stellar wind, accompanied by mass transfer from an advanced evolutionary secondary to the main-sequence primary. A good agreement is seen between the tracks and the observed graphs. Independently of details of the evolution in contact and a relation between A- and W-type systems, the ultimate fate of contact binaries involves the coalescence of both components into a single fast rotating star.

Keywords: binaries: close; binaries: eclipsing; stars: evolution

Journal Article.  7316 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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