Vol. 9 (2006) > lrr-2006-6

doi: 10.12942/lrr-2006-6
Living Rev. Relativity 9 (2006), 6

The Evolution of Compact Binary Star Systems

1 Moscow M.V. Lomonosov State University, Sternberg Astronomical Institute, 13 Universitetskij Pr., 119992 Moscow, Russia
2 Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 48 Pyatnitskaya Str., 119017 Moscow, Russia

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Article Abstract

We review the formation and evolution of compact binary stars consisting of white dwarfs (WDs), neutron stars (NSs), and black holes (BHs). Binary NSs and BHs are thought to be the primary astrophysical sources of gravitational waves (GWs) within the frequency band of ground-based detectors, while compact binaries of WDs are important sources of GWs at lower frequencies to be covered by space interferometers (LISA). Major uncertainties in the current understanding of properties of NSs and BHs most relevant to the GW studies are discussed, including the treatment of the natal kicks which compact stellar remnants acquire during the core collapse of massive stars and the common envelope phase of binary evolution. We discuss the coalescence rates of binary NSs and BHs and prospects for their detections, the formation and evolution of binary WDs and their observational manifestations. Special attention is given to AM CVn-stars -- compact binaries in which the Roche lobe is filled by another WD or a low-mass partially degenerate helium-star, as these stars are thought to be the best LISA verification binary GW sources.

Keywords: astrophysics, binary systems, gravitational wave sources, supernovae, neutron stars, black holes, white dwarfs, AM CVn stars

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Article Citation

Since a Living Reviews in Relativity article may evolve over time, please cite the access <date>, which uniquely identifies the version of the article you are referring to:

Konstantin A. Postnov and Lev R. Yungelson,
"The Evolution of Compact Binary Star Systems",
Living Rev. Relativity 9,  (2006),  6. URL (cited on <date>):
http://www.livingreviews.org/lrr-2006-6

Article History

ORIGINAL http://www.livingreviews.org/lrr-2006-6
Title The Evolution of Compact Binary Star Systems
Author Konstantin A. Postnov / Lev R. Yungelson
Date accepted 13 November 2006, published 19 December 2006
UPDATE http://www.livingreviews.org/lrr-2014-3
Title The Evolution of Compact Binary Star Systems
Author Konstantin A. Postnov / Lev R. Yungelson
Date accepted 17 March 2014, published 5 May 2014
Changes Major revision, updated and expanded. References are updated by 2007 – early-2014 publications, some outdated items removed. The reference list now contains 887 items instead of 475. The new version of the review has 39 figures. In Section 1, stellar evolution is outlined in more detail, special attention is paid to electron-capture supernovae. More attention than before is paid to uncertainties in the estimates of the ranges of precursors of white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes and their masses. In Section 2, a subsection (2.3) on black holes in binaries is added and an independent estimate of black-hole/neutron-star binary coalescence rate is given. In Section 3, a subsection on mass transfer between binary components is added, discussion of common envelopes is expanded. In Section 7, the discussion of a scenario for the formation of short-period binaries is appended by a more detailed description of “intermediate” stages, like post–common-envelope binaries, the discussion of properties of binary WD is expanded, the comparison of results of population synthesis calculations for close WD with observations is updated, thanks to a significant increase in the number of observed objects. A much extended comparison of expectations from scenarios for single-degenerate and double-degenerate SNe Ia (including violent mergers) is presented. In Section 8 all published information on double-degenerates with measured periods and estimates of masses of components and some subgiant + [white dwarf] systems is summarized (up to February 2014). In Section 9 more attention than previously is paid to the initial stages of mass exchange in the “white dwarf” channel of formation of AM CVn stars and to the comparison of “white dwarf” and “helium star” channels. Final stages of the evolution of AM CVn stars and SN .Ia are discussed. In Section 10 the GW-signals of detached and interacting double-degenerates are compared in more detail, as well as their detection probabilities with planned “short-arm” (eLISA) interferometer. The former section on the overlap of EM and GW-signals from AM CVn stars is deleted because of the (temporary?) cancellation of the LISA-mission.
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