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Stellar evolution in binary systems

Lecturer: H.-P. Gail

Location and Time: Seminar room ITA, SR I, Albert-Überle-Str. 3-5, Mo 15-17 hct
Start: April 11, 2005
See also: Lectures in Astronomy

Two thirds of all stars are members of a binary or multiple system. Except for the cases with very wide orbits the expansion of the stars during their evolution off from the main sequence leads to an exchange of mass and of stellar and orbital angular momentum during their evolution to the giant branch or during the their evolution along the first or second giant branch. This has far reaching consequences for the subsequent evolution of the stars and results in various phenomena, which are absent from single star evolution, for instance supernova explosions of typ Ia, Novae, X-Ray binaries, binary pulsars ...
This lecture gives an overview over the over the numerous phenomena related to binary evolution. It concentrates on the theoretical aspects of the problem.

Contents (preliminary):

  1. Evolution of single stars
  2. Close binaries
  3. The two-body problem
  4. The three-body problem
  5. Mass exchange in binaries
  6. Orbit evolution during mass exchange
  7. Time scales
  8. Polytropic gaseous spheres
  9. Examples for evolution of close binary stars with mass exchange
  10. Calculation of mass-transfer rate
  11. Circularisation and synchronisation
  12. Accretion disks
  13. Common-envelope evolution
  14. Non-conservative binary evolutrion
  15. Population synthesis of binaries in galaxies


Basic knowledge of astrophysics from the courses Introduction to astronomy & astrophysics I + II.

Recommended is the parallel lecture Structure and evolution of stars (-->) by W.M. Tscharnuter (though this is not a necessary prerequisite for an understandig of the topics of this lecture).

Exercises to the lecture: (-->)


Further literature is given during the lecture

Some links: