Scientific Rationale


Compact binaries, i.e. close binaries that contain a compact object, divide into many types and classes depending upon the mass of either component, the mass transfer rate, the magnetic fields involved and whether the primary star is a white dwarf, neutron star or black hole. These different classes of objects are usually studied and discussed in individual &ndash if partly overlapping &ndash communities. However, the evolution of all these objects is driven by a common mechanism: angular&ndashmomentum loss. This process controls the change of the orbital period as well as, in the phases of interaction, the mass transfer rate. This means that the basic physics behind these objects is the same and by comparing the results found for one class we might be able to understand similar problems in another.

Some of the open questions that are common to all classes of compact binaries are e.g.the impact of the common envelope phase, the role of rotation in the evolution of the secondary, the role of magnetic fields in the binary evolution, possible braking mechanisms and their efficiency, and physical mechanisms to increase the mass of the compact component to finally reach a point of ignition.

With this workshop we plan to bring together people from different communities; in this sense it is a very broad and open workshop. On the other hand, it will be focused as it concentrates on one specific problem, namely the binary evolution which over the last decade has emerged as one of the most active fields within the compact&ndashbinary communities.

The workshop, limited to 80 participants, will take place in Viña del Mar, Chile.

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The workshop is sponsored by ESO and Universidad de Valparaíso.