Wednesday, July 31, 2013

1307.8023 (Philip D. Hall et al.)

Planetary nebulae after common-envelope phases initiated by low-mass red giants    [PDF]

Philip D. Hall, Christopher A. Tout, Robert G. Izzard, Denise Keller
It is likely that at least some planetary nebulae are composed of matter which was ejected from a binary star system during common-envelope (CE) evolution. For these planetary nebulae the ionizing component is the hot and luminous remnant of a giant which had its envelope ejected by a companion in the process of spiralling-in to its current short-period orbit. A large fraction of CE phases which end with ejection of the envelope are thought to be initiated by low-mass red giants, giants with inert, degenerate helium cores. We discuss the possible end-of-CE structures of such stars and their subsequent evolution to investigate for which structures planetary nebulae are formed. We assume that a planetary nebula forms if the remnant reaches an effective temperature greater than 30 kK within 10^4 yr of ejecting its envelope. We assume that the composition profile is unchanged during the CE phase so that possible remnant structures are parametrized by the end-of-CE core mass, envelope mass and entropy profile. We find that planetary nebulae are expected in post-CE systems with core masses greater than about 0.3 solar masses if remnants end the CE phase in thermal equilibrium. We show that whether the remnant undergoes a pre-white dwarf plateau phase depends on the prescribed end-of-CE envelope mass. Thus, observing a young post-CE system would constrain the end-of CE envelope mass and post-CE evolution.
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