Binary population synthesis (BPS) modelling is a very effective tool to study the evolution and properties of close binary systems. The uncertainty in the parameters of the model and their effect on a population can be tested in a statistical way, which then leads to a deeper understanding of the underlying physical processes involved. To understand the predictive power of BPS codes, we study the similarities and differences in the predicted populations of four different BPS codes for low- and intermediate-mass binaries. We investigate whether the differences are caused by different assumptions made in the BPS codes or by numerical effects. To simplify the complex problem of comparing BPS codes, we equalise the inherent assumptions as much as possible. We find that the simulated populations are similar between the codes. Regarding the population of binaries with one WD, there is very good agreement between the physical characteristics, the evolutionary channels that lead to the birth of these systems, and their birthrates. Regarding the double WD population, there is a good agreement on which evolutionary channels exist to create double WDs and a rough agreement on the characteristics of the double WD population. Regarding which progenitor systems lead to a single and double WD system and which systems do not, the four codes agree well. Most importantly, we find that for these two populations, the differences in the predictions from the four codes are not due to numerical differences, but because of different inherent assumptions. We identify critical assumptions for BPS studies that need to be studied in more detail.
|Journal||Astronomy and Astrophysics|
|Publication status||Published - 25 Nov 2013|
Bibliographical note13 pages, +21 pages appendix, 35 figures, accepted for publishing in A&A, Minor change to match published version, most important the added link to the website http://www.astro.ru.nl/~silviato/popcorn for more detailed figures and information