Journal article Open Access

WOCS 5379: Detailed Analysis of the Evolution of a Post-mass-transfer Blue Straggler

Sun, Meng; Mathieu, Robert; Leiner, Emily; Townsend, Richard

The blue straggler binary WOCS 5379 is a member of the old (6-7 Gyr) open cluster NGC 188. WOCS 5379 comprises a blue straggler star with a white dwarf companion in a 120 day eccentric orbit. Combined with the orbital period, this helium white dwarf is evidence of previous mass transfer by a red giant. Detailed models of the system evolution from a progenitor main-sequence binary, including mass transfer, are made using the Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (MESA). Both of the progenitor stars are evolved in the simulation. WOCS 5379 is well reproduced with a primary star of initial mass 1.19 \(M_{\odot}\), whose core becomes the white dwarf. The secondary star initially is 1.01 \(M_{\odot}\). The secondary finished receiving mass from the donor 300 Myr ago, having moved beyond the NGC 188 turnoff as a 1.20 \(M_{\odot}\) blue straggler. The successful model has a mass-transfer efficiency of 22%. This nonconservative mass transfer is key to expanding the orbit fast enough to permit stable mass transfer. Even so, the mass transfer begins with a short unstable phase, during which half of the accreted mass is transferred. With increasing mass, the secondary evolves from a radiative core to a convective core. The final blue straggler interior is remarkably similar to a 2.1 Gyr old 1.21 \(M_{\odot}\) main-sequence star at the same location in the H-R diagram. The white dwarf effective temperature is also reproduced, but the modeled white dwarf mass of 0.33 \(M_{\odot}\) is smaller than the measured mass of 0.42 \(M_{\odot}\).

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