Hydrodynamics of Circumbinary Accretion: Angular Momentum Transfer and Binary Orbital Evolution
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Steward Observ
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PublisherIOP PUBLISHING LTD
CitationDiego J. Muñoz et al 2019 ApJ 871 84
Rights© 2019. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
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AbstractWe carry out 2D viscous hydrodynamical simulations of circumbinary accretion using the moving-mesh code AREPO. We self-consistently compute the accretion flow over a wide range of spatial scales, from the circumbinary disk (CBD) far from the central binary, through accretion streamers, to the disks around individual binary components, resolving the flow down to 2% of the binary separation. We focus on equal-mass binaries with arbitrary eccentricities. We evolve the flow over long (viscous) timescales until a quasi-steady state is reached, in which the mass supply rate at large distances (M) over dot(0) (assumed constant) equals the time-averaged mass transfer rate across the disk and the total mass accretion rate onto the binary components. This quasi-steady state allows us to compute the secular angular momentum transfer rate onto the binary, <(J) over dot (b)>, and the resulting orbital evolution. Through direct computation of the gravitational and accretional torques on the binary, we find that <(J) over dot (b)> is consistently positive (i.e., the binary gains angular momentum), with l(0) equivalent to <(J) over dot (b)>/(M) over dot(0) in the range of (0.4 - 0.8) a(b)(2)Omega(b), depending on the binary eccentricity (where a(b), Omega(b) are the binary semimajor axis and angular frequency); we also find that this <(J) over dot (b)> is equal to the net angular momentum current across the CBD, indicating that global angular momentum balance is achieved in our simulations. In addition, we compute the time-averaged rate of change of the binary orbital energy for eccentric binaries and thus obtain the secular rates <(a) over dot (b)> and <(e) over dot (b)>. In all cases, <(a) over dot (b)> is positive; that is, the binary expands while accreting. We discuss the implications of our results for the merger of supermassive binary black holes and for the formation of close stellar binaries.
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsNSF [AST1715246]; NASA [NNX14AP31G]; Office of the Provost; Northwestern University Information Technology