Wednesday, January 30, 2013

1301.6959 (Nickolas Moeckel et al.)

Primordial triples and collisions of massive stars    [PDF]

Nickolas Moeckel, Ian A. Bonnell
Massive stars are known to have a high multiplicity, with examples of higher order multiples among the nearest and best studied objects. In this paper we study hierarchical multiple systems (an inner binary as a component of a wider binary) of massive stars in a clustered environment, in which a system with a size of 100--1000 au will undergo many close encounters during the short lifetime of a massive star. Using two types of N-body experiment we determine the post-formation collision probabilities of these massive hierarchies. We find that, depending on the specifics of the environment, the hierarchy, and the amount of time that is allowed to pass, tens of percent of hierarchies will experience a collision, typically between the two stars of the inner binary. In addition to collisions, clusters hosting a hierarchical massive system produce high velocity runaways at an enhanced rate. The primordial multiplicity specifics of massive stars appear to play a key role in the generation of these relatively small number events in cluster simulations, complicating their use as diagnostics of a cluster's history.
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