AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 13 Interacting Binaries
Poster, Monday, 9:20am-7:00pm, January 9, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[13.09] Constructing Models of Contact Binaries and Rapidly Rotating Ellipsoids

J.E. Tohline, I. Park, S. Ou (LSU)

Efforts to better understand the dynamical stability and long-term evolutionary behavior of semi-detached and contact binary star systems are hampered by our inability to construct accurate ``initial'' equilibrium models of such systems. We have developed a new self-consistent-field (SCF) technique that can generate equilibrium (polytropic) models of synchronously rotating, close binary star systems with an arbitrarily specified mass ratio ``q'' and an arbitrarily specified Roche-lobe-filling factor (RLFF) for each star. Semi-detached models are produced if the RLFF is set to unity for one star; a contact binary is produced when the RLFF for both stars is set to unity. Straightforward modifications of this numerical tool may also permit the construction of over-contact binary systems. A separate SCF technique is being developed that will permit the construction of steady-state ``ellipsoidal'' models of rapidly rotating stars that have a wide range of spin frequencies and internal motions. Especially because they can serve as an agent for the transport of angular momentum, ellipsoids of this type are relevant to studies of star formation, galaxy dynamics, and young neutron stars. This research has been supported, in part, by NSF grant AST-0407070.

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