182 research outputs found

    Orbital evolution with white-dwarf kicks

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    Recent observations of white dwarfs in globular clusters indicate that these stars may get a velocity kick during their time as giants. This velocity kick could originate naturally if the mass loss while on the asymptotic giant branch is slightly asymmetric. If white dwarfs get a kick comparable to the orbital velocity of the binary, the initial Runge-Lenz vector (eccentricity vector) of the orbit is damped to be replaced by a component pointing toward the cross product of the initial angular momentum and the force. The final eccentricity may be of order unity and if the kick is sufficiently large, the system may be disrupted. These results may have important ramifications for the evolution of binary stars and planetary systemsComment: 6 pages, 2 figures, added many intermediate equations, version accepted by MNRA