The presence of an orbiting companion can significantly affect the evolution of a star. For close binaries, radial expansion of the primary’s envelope during the post-Main Sequence, coupled with mass-loss from winds, can destabilize the orbit such that the companion plunges into the primary star. Such common envelope (CE) events are thought to be the primary mechanism for forming close binaries in the universe, as the orbital separation rapidly shrinks. Despite its importance and predicted ubiquity, the details of stellar evolution through the CE phase remain highly uncertain. Here, we construct theoretical light curves for convective CE events. The effects of convection impart a distinct, long-term signature in the light curves, which should be detectable with upcoming transient surveys.

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Astrophysical Sciences and Technology (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)


Joshua Faber

Advisor/Committee Member

Joel Kastner

Advisor/Committee Member

Jason Nordhaus


RIT – Main Campus