Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 438, 859-868 (2014/February-2)
The detached-binary channel for the formation of contact binaries.
JIANG D., HAN Z. and LI L.
Abstract (from CDS):
The detached-binary channel is an important channel for the formation of contact binaries, according to which a detached binary might evolve into contact by evolutionary expansion of the components, or angular momentum loss through the effect of magnetic braking. We have carried out a detailed binary population synthesis study of this channel, and obtained the parameter regions for detached binaries to evolve into contact. Combining the observations from the Kepler satellite with our results, we found that the ratio of the birth rate of the progenitors of contact binaries to that of contact binaries is greater than about 1.2. This suggests that for the detached-binary channel, the progenitors can be sufficient to produce observed contact binaries. In this channel, we find that the distribution of orbital period for contact binaries has a peak at about 0.25 d and a tail extending to longer periods, and the formation time-scale of contact binaries has a large range from ∼ 1Myr to 15Gyr. These results show that the detached-binary channel could explain satisfactorily the main observational characteristics of contact binaries, in particular the distribution of orbital period shown by the Kepler observations and the existence of very young contact binaries.