University of Surrey

Test tubes in the lab Research in the ATI Dance Research

Bondi–Hoyle–Lyttleton accretion by binary stars

Comerford, T A F, Izzard, R G, Booth, R A and Rosotti, G (2019) Bondi–Hoyle–Lyttleton accretion by binary stars Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 490 (4). pp. 5196-5209.

Bondi–Hoyle–Lyttleton accretion by binary stars.pdf - Accepted version Manuscript

Download (1MB) | Preview


Binary stars often move through an ambient medium from which they accrete material and angular momentum, as in triple-star systems, star-forming clouds, young globular clusters, and in the centres of galaxies. A binary form of Bondi–Hoyle–Lyttleton accretion results whereby the accretion rate depends on the binary properties: the stellar masses and separation, and the relative wind speed. We present the results of simulations performed with the hydrodynamic code GANDALF, to determine the mass accretion rates over a range of binary separations, inclinations, and mass ratios. When the binary separation is short, the binary system accretes like a single star, while accretion on to stars in wide binaries is barely affected by their companion. We investigate intermediate-separation systems in some detail, finding that as the binary separation is increased, accretion rates smoothly decrease from the rate equal to that of a single star to the rate expected from two isolated stars. The form of this decrease depends on the relative centre-of-mass velocity of the binary and the gas, with faster-moving binaries showing a shallower decrease. Accretion rates vary little with orbital inclination, except when the orbit is side-on and the stars pass through each others’ wakes. The specific angular momentum accretion rate also depends on the inclination but is never sufficient to prevent the binary orbit from contracting. Our results may be applied to accretion on to protostars, pollution of stars in globular and nuclear clusters, and wind mass transfer in multiple stellar systems.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Physics
Authors :
Comerford, T A F
Izzard, R
Booth, R A
Rosotti, G
Date : 30 October 2019
Funders : Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
DOI : 10.1093/mnras/stz2977
Grant Title : BIS National E-infrastructure capital grant
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2019 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (
Uncontrolled Keywords : Accretion. Accretion discs. Hydrodynamics. Methods: numerical. Binaries: general.
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 28 Nov 2019 03:05
Last Modified : 28 Nov 2019 08:04

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

Information about this web site

© The University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, United Kingdom.
+44 (0)1483 300800