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A STUDY OF CLOSE BINARY STARS: COMPARISON OF V361 LYR

A STUDY OF CLOSE BINARY STARS: COMPARISON OF V361 LYR

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An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards (International Programme) Competition by Sebastian Russell-Smith. Originally submitted for Project in Astrophysics 1 at University of St. Andrews, with lecturer Professor Andrew Cameron in the category of Mathematical & Physical Sciences
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards (International Programme) Competition by Sebastian Russell-Smith. Originally submitted for Project in Astrophysics 1 at University of St. Andrews, with lecturer Professor Andrew Cameron in the category of Mathematical & Physical Sciences

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 31, 2012
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10/27/2013

 
A
S
TUDYOF
C
LOSE
B
INARY
S
TARS
:
C
OMPARISONOF
V361
L
YR
WORDCOUNT
:5772A
STROPHYSICS
(BS
C
)
 
ASTUDYOFCLOSEBINARYSTARS:COMPARISONOFV361LYR
1
A
S
TUDYOF
C
LOSE
B
INARY
S
TARS
:
C
OMPARISONOF
V361
L
YR
 Abstract 
Ipresentadiscussiononthevariousformationandevolutionarymechanismsofclosebinarystars.Theformationofclosebinarieshasbeenatopicofdebateformanyyears,asnoconclusivetheoryhasyetbeenpresented.Inthispaper,particularattentionwillbepaidtotheformationofCataclysmicVariablesandContactBinaries.ThediscussionwillleadontothecomparisonofthesebinarytypestothewellknowsemidetachedbinaryV361Lyr.Thissystemhasashortperiodof0.309daysandhasbeenshowntoconsistofaprimaryGdwarfaccretingmasstothesecondaryKdwarfthroughtheinnerL1pointcreatinga‘hotspot’onthesurfaceoftheKdwarf(Hilditchetal.1997).Theunusualnatureofthissystemanduncertainevolutionwillalsobediscussed;couldthisbetheshortlivedprecontactstageofaWUMa-typecontactbinary(Kaluzny1990),orindeedthesemidetachedstageofanun-evolvedWUMa-typesystemaspredictedbythethermalrelaxationoscillationmodel(Lucy&Wilson1979).
1.Introduction
Binarystarsmakeuparoundhalfofallobservedstars(Li&Han2008),itisthereforenosmallmattertounderstandthefundamentalbuildingblocksthat
 
2ASTUDYOFCLOSEBINARYSTARS:COMPARISONOFV361LYR
formabinarysystem.Beyondthis,closebinarysystemsmakeuproughly10%ofthispopulation.Closebinariesareofparticularinterestowingtothenatureoftheirinteractions,andthepossibilityofthemformingexoticobjectsastheyevolve(Haenseletal.1986,Iben1991).Thoughbinarysystemshavebeenstudiedforover200years,thereisstillwidedebateastotheexactnatureoftheirformation.Duetothecomplexprocesses,suchasmasstransferbetweencompanionstars,physicalandmeteorologicalphenomenawithinthestarsstartstoplayalargeroleintheirdevelopmentandevolution(Iben1991).Itisasaresultofthisthatnoconcisebinaryformationmodelhasbeendeveloped,insteadaseriesofdefinitionsandpotentialmethodshaveemerged.Theclosebinaries(withseparation
2.5AU)inthebinaryseparationdistributionplotcouldbetakentosuggestthatthemechanism(ormechanisms)thatformedmoredistantbinariesisalsoresponsiblefortheformationofclosebinarysystems.Inthesamebreathhowever,themassratiodistributionwouldsuggestacertaindisparitybetweendistantandclosebinaries,converselysuggestingadifferentformationmechanism(s)isinplace(Mazehetal.1992).
2.FormationMechanisms
Thereareanumberofindividuallyidentifiablemechanismspresentthathaveallbeensuggestedasaformationprocessofbinarysystems.Theseprocessesarefission,fragmentation,diskfragmentation,orbitalcontractionandCapture.Eachofthesehasitsprosandcons,thoughsomearemorefavoredthanothers.Asstatedabove,oneoranycombinationofthesecouldberesponsiblefortheformationofthevastnumberofbinariesfoundinthegalaxy.Bonnell’s(2001)paperonTheformationofclosebinarystarswasparticularlyhelpful.
2.1Fission
Theideaoffissionwasfirstsuggestedoverahundredyearsagowhenthefirsttheoriesofbinaryformationwherebeingconceived.Itistheideathatarapidlyrotatingprotostar,thatisgravitationallyunstable,willspreadouttoformabar,

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