Effect of binary evolution on the inferred initial and final core masses of hydrogen-rich, Type II supernova progenitors

E. Zapartas, S. E. De Mink, S. Justham, N. Smith, M. Renzo, A. De Koter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The majority of massive stars, which are the progenitors of core-collapse supernovae (SNe), are found in close binary systems. In a previous work, we modeled the fraction of hydrogen-rich, Type II SN progenitors whose evolution is affected by mass exchange with their companion, finding this to be between ≈1/3 and 1/2 for most assumptions. Here we study in more depth the impact of this binary history of Type II SN progenitors on their final pre-SN core mass distribution, using population synthesis simulations. We find that binary star progenitors of Type II SNe typically end their life with a larger core mass than they would have had if they had lived in isolation because they gained mass or merged with a companion before their explosion. The combination of the diverse binary evolutionary paths typically leads to a marginally shallower final core mass distribution. In discussing our results in the context of the red supergiant problem, that is, the reported lack of detected high luminosity progenitors, we conclude that binary evolution does not seem to significantly affect the issue. This conclusion is quite robust against our variations in the assumptions of binary physics. We also predict that inferring the initial masses of Type II SN progenitors by "age-dating"their surrounding environment systematically yields lower masses compared to methods that probe the pre-SN core mass or luminosity. A robust discrepancy between the inferred initial masses of a SN progenitor from those different techniques could indicate an evolutionary history of binary mass accretion or merging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA6
JournalAstronomy and astrophysics
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Binaries: close
  • Stars: evolution
  • Stars: massive
  • Supernovae: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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