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From Betelgeuse to R Corona Borealis: The Role of Stellar Mergers in Stellar Evolution
October 29, 201811:30 am – 12:30 pm (CDT)

From Betelgeuse to R Corona Borealis: The Role of Stellar Mergers in Stellar Evolution


Manos Chatzopoulos (Louisiana State University)



Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics & Astronomy

College Station, Texas 77843

Event Details

It is now known that the majority of stars do not live in isolation but with a binary companion. It is also known that a significant fraction of these systems will undergo binary mass transfer with a third of these even suffering a stellar merger event. As such, the effects of stellar duplicity are expected to be significant in the long-term evolution of a non-negligible population of stars. Recent Kepler Space Mission discoveries of massive giant stars rotating at speeds much faster than what is predicted in models of single stellar evolution together with observations of a rare class of stars with exceptional nucleosynthetic signatures called R Corona Borealis (RCB) stars are potential candidates of postmerger evolution. In addition, the famous red supergiant star star Betelgeuse (alpha Orionis) was also reported to be rotating faster than most other supergiant stars. I will review our recent work on modeling the long-term evolution of stellar mergers with the MESA stellar evolution code with the purpose of reproducing the rotational properties of supergiant stars like Betelgeuse and the nucleosynthetic properties of R Corona Borealis Stars and argue that a merger scenario is instrumental in complementing our understanding of stellar evolution.

Video Recording

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