Massive star evolution: Rotation, winds, and overshooting vectors in the mass-luminosity plane: I. A calibrated grid of rotating single star models

Erin R. Higgins, Jorick S. Vink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Context. Massive star evolution is dominated by various physical effects, including mass loss, overshooting, and rotation, but the prescriptions of their effects are poorly constrained and even affect our understanding of the main sequence. Aims. We aim to constrain massive star evolution models using the unique test-bed eclipsing binary HD 166734 with new grids of MESA stellar evolution models, adopting calibrated prescriptions of overshooting, mass loss, and rotation. Methods. We introduce a novel tool, called the mass-luminosity plane or M-L plane, as an equivalent to the traditional HR diagram, utilising it to reproduce the test-bed binary HD 166734 with newly calibrated MESA stellar evolution models for single stars. Results. We can only reproduce the Galactic binary system with an enhanced amount of core overshooting (α= 0.5), mass loss, and rotational mixing. We can utilise the gradient in the M-L plane to constrain the amount of mass loss to 0.5-1.5 times the standard prescription test-bed, and we can exclude extreme reduction or multiplication factors. The extent of the vectors in the M-L plane leads us to conclude that the amount of core overshooting is larger than is normally adopted in contemporary massive star evolution models. We furthermore conclude that rotational mixing is mandatory to obtain the correct nitrogen abundance ratios between the primary and secondary components (3:1) in our test-bed binary system. Conclusions. Our calibrated grid of models, alongside our new M-L plane approach, present the possibility of a widened main sequence due to an increased demand for core overshooting. The increased amount of core overshooting is not only needed to explain the extended main sequence, but the enhanced overshooting is also needed to explain the location of the upper-luminosity limit of the red supergiants. Finally, the increased amount of core overshooting has - via the compactness parameter-implications for supernova explodability.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA50
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Mass function
  • Stars: early-type
  • Stars: evolution
  • Stars: luminosity function
  • Stars: mass-loss
  • Stars: massive
  • Stars: rotation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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