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Missing red supergiants and carbon burning

Sukhbold, Tuguldur and Adams, Scott (2020) Missing red supergiants and carbon burning. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 492 (2). pp. 2578-2587. ISSN 0035-8711.

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Recent studies on direct imaging of Type II core-collapse supernova progenitors indicate a possible threshold around M_(ZAMS) ∼ 16–20 M⊙, where red supergiants (RSG) with larger birth masses do not appear to result in supernova explosions and instead implode directly into a black hole. In this study, we argue that it is not a coincidence that this threshold closely matches the critical transition of central carbon burning in massive stars from the convective to radiative regime. In lighter stars, carbon burns convectively in the centre and result in compact final pre-supernova cores that are likely to result in explosions, while in heavier stars after the transition, it burns as a radiative flame and the stellar cores become significantly harder to explode. Using the keplerkepler code we demonstrate the sensitivity of this transition to the rate of ¹²C(α, γ)¹⁶O reaction and the overshoot mixing efficiency, and we argue that the upper mass limit of exploding RSG could be employed to constrain uncertain input physics of massive stellar evolution calculations. The initial mass corresponding to the central carbon burning transition range from 14 to 26 M⊙ in recently published models from various groups and codes, and only a few are in agreement with the estimates inferred from direct imaging studies.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Sukhbold, Tuguldur0000-0002-1728-1561
Adams, Scott0000-0001-5855-5939
Additional Information:© 2020 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Accepted 2020 January 7. Received 2019 December 14; in original form 2019 April 26. Published: 10 January 2020. We thank the referee for many valuable comments that helped to improve the paper. We also would like to thank Stan Woosley, Christopher Kochanek, Thomas Janka, Alexander Heger, and Marco Limongi for valuable comments, and Falk Herwig for sharing the details of their calculations. All numerical kepler calculations presented in Section 3 were performed on the RUBY cluster at the Ohio Supercomputer Center (Ohio Supercomputer Center 1987). Support for this work was provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) through the NASA Hubble Fellowship grant #60065868 awarded by the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., for NASA, under contract NAS5-26555. Software:MATPLOTLIB (Hunter 2007) and NUMPY (Van Der Walt, Colbert & Varoquaux 2011).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Hubble Fellowship60065868
Subject Keywords:stars: evolution – stars: interiors – stars: massive – black holes – supernovae: general
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200227-144036851
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Official Citation:Tuguldur Sukhbold, Scott Adams, Missing red supergiants and carbon burning, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 492, Issue 2, February 2020, Pages 2578–2587,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:101627
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:27 Feb 2020 23:03
Last Modified:27 Feb 2020 23:03

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