Spin rates and spin evolution of O components in WR+O binaries

Dany Vanbeveren, Nicki Mennekens, MM Shara, AFJ Moffat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Context. Despite 50 yr of extensive binary research, we must conclude that the Roche lobe overflow/mass transfer process that governs close binary evolution is still poorly understood.

Aims. It is the scope of the present paper to lift the edge of the veil by studying the spin-up and spin-down processes of the O-type components of WR+O binaries.

Methods. We critically analyzed the available observational data of rotation speeds of the O-type components in WR+O binaries. By combining a binary evolutionary code and a formalism that describes the effects of tides in massive stars with an envelope in radiative equilibrium, we computed the corresponding rotational velocities during the Roche lobe overflow of the progenitor binaries.

Results. In all the WR+O binaries studied, we find that the O-type stars were affected by accretion of matter during Roche lobe overflow (RLOF) of the progenitor. This means that common envelope evolution, which excludes any accretion onto the secondary O star, has not played an important role in explaining WR+O binaries. Moreover, although it is very likely that the O-type star progenitors were spun up by mass transfer, many ended the RLOF (and mass transfer) phase with a rotational velocity that is significantly smaller than the critical rotation speed. This may indicate that during the mass transfer phase there is a spin-down process that is of the same order, although significantly less, than that of the spin-up process. We propose a Spruit–Tayler type dynamo spin-down suggested in the past to explain the rotation speeds of the mass gainers in long-period Algols.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA65
Number of pages6
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2018


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