THE PAST AND FUTURE HISTORY OF REGULUS
Author(s)Podsiadlowski, Ph.; Horev, I.; Rappaport, Saul A
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We show how the recent discovery of a likely close white dwarf companion to the well-known star Regulus, one of the brightest stars in the sky, leads to considerable insight into the prior evolutionary history of this star, including the cause of its current rapid rotation. We infer a relatively narrow range for the initial masses of the progenitor system: M [subscript 10] = 2.3 ± 0.2 M sun and M [subscript 20] = 1.7 ± 0.2 M sun, where M [subscript 10] and M [subscript 20] are the initial masses of the progenitors of the white dwarf and Regulus, respectively. In this scenario, the age of the Regulus system would exceed 1 Gyr. We also show that Regulus, with a current orbital period of 40 days, has an interesting future ahead of it. This includes (1) a common envelope phase, and, quite possibly, (2) an sdB phase, followed by (3) an AM CVn phase with orbital periods lsim1 hr. Binary evolution calculations are presented in support of this scenario. We also discuss alternative possibilities, emphasizing the present uncertainties in binary evolution theory. Thus, this one particular star system illustrates many different aspects of binary stellar evolution.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Physics; MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research
American Astronomical Society
Rappaport, Saul A., Ph. Podsiadlowski, and I. Horev. “THE PAST AND FUTURE HISTORY OF REGULUS.” The Astrophysical Journal 698.1: 666. © 2009 The American Astronomical Society
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