X-Ray Binary Formation in Low and High Metallicity Simulated Stellar Environments
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This project addresses the temporal evolution of binary star systems and investigates the initial conditions that produce X-ray Binaries (XRBs). Because stellar evolution occurs over millions or billions of years, we can only track the entire evolution of these systems in computer simulations. XRBs are systems where a star is losing material to a compact object (black hole or neutron star). As the material is being accreted by the compact object, the infalling gas is heated to such high temperatures that it emits in X-rays. X-rays are relatively short and have high-energy wavelengths of light, ranging from 10-8 to 10-12 meters on the electromagnetic spectrum. Using the binary_c rapid stellar evolution code, we seek to understand the implications of high and low-metallicity stellar environments on XRB formation and evolution. Exploring the effects of metallicities from 0.0001 to 0.01 (near Solar metallicity of 0.018) on the formation of XRB systems, we have found the formation of black hole XRBs has a bimodal distribution in low-metallicity environments, with local maximums near 12.5 and 85 million years (Myr). We conclude that further exploration of these environments is called for to understand how the low-metallicity environment affects black hole formation after the initial maximum.