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We give a brief overview of where we stand with respect to some old and new questions bearing on how massive stars evolve and end their lifetime. We focus on the following key points that are further discussed by other contributions during this conference: convection, mass losses, rotation, magnetic field and multiplicity. For purpose of clarity, each of these processes are discussed on its own but we have to keep in mind that they are all interacting between them offering a large variety of outputs, some of them still to be discovered.
The explosion mechanism of core-collapse supernovae is a long-standing problem in stellar astrophysics. We briefly outline the main contenders for a solution and review recent efforts to model core-collapse supernova explosions by means of multi-dimensional simulations. Focusing on the neutrino-driven mechanism, we summarize currents efforts to predict supernova explosion and remnant properties.
A very active area of research in the field of core-collapse supernovae (SNe) is the study of their progenitors and the links with different subtypes. Direct identification using pre- and post-SN images is a powerful method but it can only be applied to the most nearby events. An alternative method is the hydrodynamical modeling of SN light curves and expansion velocities, which can serve to characterize the progenitor (e.g. mass and radius) and the explosion itself (e.g. explosion energy and radioactive yields). This latter methodology is particularly powerful when combined with stellar evolution calculations. We review our current understanding of the properties of normal core-collapse SNe based chiefly on these two methods.
Linking core-collapse SNe to their stellar progenitors is a major ongoing challenge. To date, H rich Type IIP SNe have been shown to come from red supergiants, while there is increasing evidence that the majority of stripped envelope SNe come from binary systems. The first candidates for failed SNe, where a massive star collapses to form a black hole without a bright optical display have been identified, while the range of outbursts and eruptions from pre-SN stars are just beginning to be revealed.
The physical origin of Type-I (hydrogen-less) superluminous supernovae (SLSNe-I), whose luminosities are 10 to 500 times higher than normal core-collapse supernovae, remains still unknown. Thanks to their brightness, SLSNe-I would be useful probes of distant Universe. For the power source of the light curves of SLSNe-I, radioactive-decays, magnetars, and circumstellar interactions have been proposed, although no definitive conclusions have been reached yet. Since most of light curve studies have been based on simplified semi-analytic models, we have constructed multi-color light curve models by means of detailed radiation hydrodynamical calculations for various mass of stars including very massive ones and large amount of mass loss. We compare the rising time, peak luminosity, width, and decline rate of the model light curves with observations of SLSNe-I and obtain constraints on their progenitors and explosion mechanisms. We particularly pay attention to the recently reported double peaks of the light curves. We discuss how to discriminate three models, relevant models parameters, their evolutionary origins, and implications for the early evolution of the Universe.
Massive stars in the final phases of their lives frequently expel large amounts of material. An interesting example is SN 2009ip that varied in brightness years before its possible core-collapse. Here we present SN 2015bh in NGC 2770 that shows striking similarities to SN 2009ip. It experienced frequent variabilities for 21 years before a smaller precursor and the “main event” in May 2015. Its spectra are consistent with an LBV during the outburst phase and show a complex P-Cygni profile during the main event. Both SN 2009ip and 2015bh were always situated red-wards of LBVs in outburst in the HR diagram. Their final fate is currently still uncertain, SN 2009ip, however, is now fainter than in pre-explosion observations. If the star survives this event it is undoubtedly altered, and we suggest that these “zombie stars” could be LBVs evolving into a Wolf-Rayet (WR) star over a very short timescale.
We present a new model of the optical nebular emission from HII regions by combining the results of the Binary Population and Spectral Synthesis (bpass) code with the photoionization code cloudy (Ferland et al. 1998). We explore a variety of emission-line diagnostics of these star-forming HII regions and examine the effects of metallicity and interacting binary evolution on the nebula emission-line production. We compare the line emission properties of HII regions with model stellar populations, and provide new constraints on their stellar populations and supernova progenitors. We find that models including massive binary stars can successfully match all the observational constraints and provide reasonable age and mass estimation of the HII regions and supernova progenitors.
Because polarization encodes geometrical information about unresolved scattering regions, it provides a unique tool for analyzing the 3-D structures of supernovae (SNe) and their surroundings. SNe of all types exhibit time-dependent spectropolarimetric signatures produced primarily by electron scattering. These signatures reveal physical phenomena such as complex velocity structures, changing illumination patterns, and asymmetric morphologies within the ejecta and surrounding material. Interpreting changes in polarization over time yields unprecedentedly detailed information about supernovae, their progenitors, and their evolution.
Begun in 2012, the SNSPOL Project continues to amass the largest database of time-dependent spectropolarimetric data on SNe. I present an overview of the project and its recent results. In the future, combining such data with interpretive radiative transfer models will further constrain explosion mechanisms and processes that shape SN ejecta, uncover new relationships among SN types, and probe the properties of progenitor winds and circumstellar material.
With red supergiants (RSGs) predicted to end their lives as Type IIP core collapse supernova (CCSN), their behaviour before explosion needs to be fully understood. Mass loss rates govern RSG evolution towards SN and have strong implications on the appearance of the resulting explosion. To study how the mass-loss rates change with the evolution of the star, we have measured the amount of circumstellar material around 19 RSGs in a coeval cluster. Our study has shown that mass loss rates ramp up throughout the lifetime of an RSG, with more evolved stars having mass loss rates a factor of 40 higher than early stage RSGs. Interestingly, we have also found evidence for an increase in circumstellar extinction throughout the RSG lifetime, meaning the most evolved stars are most severely affected. We find that, were the most evolved RSGs in NGC2100 to go SN, this extra extinction would cause the progenitor’s initial mass to be underestimated by up to 9M⊙.
We present results of a systematic and detailed stellar evolution study of binary mergers for blue supergiant (BSG) progenitors of Type II supernovae, particularly for SN 1987A. We are able to reproduce nearly all observational aspects of the progenitor of SN 1987A, Sk –69 °202, such as its position in the HR diagram, the enrichment of helium and nitrogen in the triple-ring nebula and its lifetime before its explosion. We build our evolutionary model based on the merger model of Podsiadlowski et al. (1992), Podsiadlowski et al. (2007) and empirically explore an initial parameter consisting of primary masses, secondary masses and different depths up to which the secondary penetrates the He core during the merger. The evolution of the post-merger star is continued until just before iron-core collapse. Of the 84 pre-supernova models (16 M⊙ − 23 M⊙) computed, the majority of the pre-supernova models are compact, hot BSGs with effective temperature >12 kK and 30 R⊙ − 70 R⊙ of which six match nearly all the observational properties of Sk –69 °202.
We gathered a multiwavelength dataset of two well-known LBVs. We found a complex mass-loss, with evidence of variability, such as has been seen previously. In addition, our data reveal signatures of collimated stellar winds. We propose a new scenario for these two stars where the nebula shaping is influenced by the presence of a companion star and/or fast rotation.
We perform hydrodynamic supernova (SN) simulations in spherical symmetry for progenitor models with solar metallicity across the stellar mass range from 9.0 to 120 M⊙ to explore the progenitor-explosion and progenitor-remnant connections based on the neutrino-driven mechanism. We use an approximative treatment of neutrino transport and replace the high-density interior of the neutron star (NS) by an inner boundary condition based on an analytic proto-NS core-cooling model, whose free parameters are chosen to reproduce the observables of SN 1987A and the Crab SN for theoretical models of their progenitor stars.
Judging the fate of a massive star, either a neutron star (NS) or a black hole (BH), solely by its structure prior to collapse has been ambiguous. Our work and previous attempts find a non-monotonic variation of successful and failed supernovae with zero-age main-sequence mass. We identify two parameters based on the “critical luminosity” concept for neutrino-driven explosions, which in combination allows for a clear separation of exploding and non-exploding cases.
Continuing our simulations beyond shock break-out, we are able to determine nucleosynthesis, light curves, explosion energies, and remnant masses. The resulting NS initial mass function has a mean gravitational mass near 1.4 M⊙. The average BH mass is about 9 M⊙ if only the helium core implodes, and 14 M⊙ if the entire pre-SN star collapses. Only ~10% of SNe come from stars over 20 M⊙, and some of these are Type Ib or Ic.
Achieving high accuracy and precision in stellar parameter and chemical composition determinations is challenging in massive star spectroscopy. On one hand, the target selection for an unbiased sample build-up is complicated by several types of peculiarities that can occur in individual objects. On the other hand, composite spectra are often not recognized as such even at medium-high spectral resolution and typical signal-to-noise ratios, despite multiplicity among massive stars is widespread. In particular, surveys that produce large amounts of automatically reduced data are prone to oversight of details that turn hazardous for the analysis with techniques that have been developed for a set of standard assumptions applicable to a spectrum of a single star. Much larger systematic errors than anticipated may therefore result because of the unrecognized true nature of the investigated objects, or much smaller sample sizes of objects for the analysis than initially planned, if recognized. More factors to be taken care of are the multiple steps from the choice of instrument over the details of the data reduction chain to the choice of modelling code, input data, analysis technique and the selection of the spectral lines to be analyzed. Only when avoiding all the possible pitfalls, a precise and accurate characterization of the stars in terms of fundamental parameters and chemical fingerprints can be achieved that form the basis for further investigations regarding e.g. stellar structure and evolution or the chemical evolution of the Galaxy. The scope of the present work is to provide the massive star and also other astrophysical communities with criteria to evaluate the quality of spectroscopic investigations of massive stars before interpreting them in a broader context. The discussion is guided by our experiences made in the course of over a decade of studies of massive star spectroscopy ranging from the simplest single objects to multiple systems.
Despite its importance on late stages of the evolution of massive stars, the mass loss from red supergiants (RSGs) is a long-standing problem. To tackle this problem, it is essential to observe the wind acceleration region close to the star with high spatial resolution. While the mass loss from RSGs is often assumed to be spherically symmetric with a monotonically accelerating wind, there is mounting observational evidence that the reality is much more complex. I review the recent progress in high spatial resolution observations of RSGs, encompassing from the circumstellar envelope on rather large spatial scales (~100 stellar radii) to milliarcsecond-resolution aperture-synthesis imaging of the surface and the atmosphere of RSGs with optical and infrared long-baseline interferometers.
The upper mass limit of stars remains an open question in astrophysics. Here we discuss observations of the most massive stars (greater than 100 solar masses) in the local universe and how the observations fit in with theoretical predictions. In particular, the Large Magellanic Cloud plays host to numerous very massive stars, making it an ideal template to study the roles that environment, metallicity, and multiplicity play in the formation and evolution of the most massive stars. We will discuss the work that is instrumental in laying the groundwork for interpreting future observations by James Webb of starburst regions in the high redshift universe.
Massive stars like company. Here, we provide a brief overview of progresses made over the last 5 years by a number of medium and large surveys. These results provide new insights on the observed and intrinsic multiplicity properties of main sequence massive stars and on the initial conditions for their future evolution. They also bring new interesting constraints on the outcome of the massive star formation process.
Possible formation mechanisms of massive close binary black holes that can merge in the Hubble time to produce powerful gravitational wave bursts detected during advanced LIGO O1 science run are briefly discussed. The pathways include the evolution from field low-metallicity massive binaries, the dynamical formation in globular clusters and primordial black holes. Low effective black hole spins inferred for LIGO GW150914 and LTV151012 events are discussed. Population synthesis calculations of the expected spin and chirp mass distributions from the standard field massive binary formation channel are presented for different metallicities (from zero-metal Population III stars up to solar metal abundance). We conclude that that merging binary black holes can contain systems from different formation channels, discrimination between which can be made with increasing statistics of mass and spin measurements from ongoing and future gravitational wave observations.
Some magnetic early B-type stars display Hα emission originating in their Centrifugal Magnetospheres (CMs). To determine the rotational and magnetic properties necessary for the onset of emission, we analyzed a large spectropolarimetric dataset for a sample of 51 B5-B0 magnetic stars. New rotational periods were found for 15 stars. We determined physical parameters, dipolar magnetic field strengths, magnetospheric parameters, and magnetic braking timescales. Hα-bright stars are more rapidly rotating, more strongly magnetized, and younger than the overall population. We use the high sensitivity of magnetic braking to the mass-loss rate to test the predictions of Vink et al. (2001) and Krtička (2014) by comparing ages t to maximum spindown ages tS, max. For stars with M* < 10 M⊙ this comparison favours the Krtička recipe. For the most massive stars, both prescriptions yield t ≪ tS, max, a discrepancy which is difficult to explain via incorrect mass-loss rates alone.
Recent studies of WNh stars at the cores of young massive clusters have challenged the previously accepted upper stellar mass limit (~150 M⊙), suggesting some of these objects may have initial masses as high as 300 M⊙. We investigated the possible existence of observed stars above ~150 M⊙ by i) examining the nature and stellar properties of VFTS 682, a recently identified WNh5 very massive star, and ii) studying the uncertainties in the luminosity estimates of R136’s core stars due to crowding. Our spectroscopic analysis reveals that the most massive members of R136 and VFTS 682 are very similar and our K-band photometric study of R136’s core stars shows that the measurements seem to display higher uncertainties than previous studies suggested; moreover, for the most massive stars in the cluster, R136a1 and a2, we found previous magnitudes were underestimated by at least 0.4 mag. As such, luminosities and masses of these stars have to be significantly scaled down, which then also lowers the hitherto observed upper mass limit of stars.