Reverse Algols and hydrogen-rich Wolf-Rayet stars from very massive binaries

K. Sen, N. Langer, D. Pauli, G. Gräfener, A. Schootemeijer, H. Sana, T. Shenar, L. Mahy

Massive star feedback affects the evolution of galaxies, where the most massive stars may have the largest impact. The majority of massive stars are born as members of close binary systems. Here, we investigate detailed evolutionary models of very massive binaries (30 ... 90 M_sun) with Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) metallicity. We identify four effects defying the conventional knowledge of binary evolution, which are all related to the proximity of the models to the Eddington limit. We find that the majority of systems undergo mass transfer during core hydrogen burning. During the ensuing nuclear timescale evolution, many mass donors remain more massive than their companions (``reverse Algols''), and nuclear timescale mass transfer may be interrupted or absent altogether. Furthermore, due to the elevated luminosity-to-mass ratio, many of the core-hydrogen burning donors may develop Wolf-Rayet-type winds, at luminosities where single stars would not. We identify observational counterparts of very massive reverse Algol binaries in the LMC, and discuss their contribution to the observed hydrogen-rich Wolf-Rayet stars. We argue that an understanding of very massive Algol systems is key to predicting the advanced evolution of very massive binaries, including their ability to evolve into observable gravitational wave sources.

Preprint (sen+2023.pdf, 2.4MB)

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