- The evolution of runaway stellar collision products
- Astronomy & Astrophysics
- Volume | Issue number
- 497 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy (API)
Informatics Institute (IVI)
In the cores of young dense star clusters, repeated stellar collisions involving the same object can occur. It has been suggested that this leads to the formation of an intermediate-mass black hole. To verify this scenario we compute the detailed evolution of the merger remnant of three sequences, then follow the evolution until the onset of carbon burning, and estimate the final remnant mass to determine the ultimate fate of a runaway merger sequence.
We use a detailed stellar evolution code to follow the evolution of the collision product. At each collision we mix the two colliding stars, accounting for the mass loss during the collision. During the stellar evolution we apply mass-loss rates from the literature, as appropriate for the evolutionary stage of the merger remnant. We computed models for high (Z = 0.02) and low (Z = 0.001) metallicity to quantify metallicity effects.
We find that the merger remnant becomes a Wolf-Rayet star before the end of core hydrogen burning. Mass loss from stellar winds dominates the mass increase due to repeated mergers for all three merger sequences that we consider. In none of our high-metallicity models an intermediate-mass black hole is formed, instead our models have a mass of 10-14 M-circle dot at the onset of carbon burning. For low metallicity the final remnant is more massive and may explode as a pair-creation supernova. We find that our metal-rich models become inflated as a result of developing an extended low-density envelope. This may increase the probability of further collisions, but self-consistent N-body calculations with detailed evolution of runaway mergers are required to verify this.
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