Authors: CARLA MACERONI
Abstract: Accurate monitoring of the orbital period of late-type close binaries can provide important information on their secular evolution and on the structural changes of their components on very short timescales (i.e. decades). The orbital period turns out to be a powerful tool of investigation: it can be measured to great accuracy even with simple equipments and its change produces an easily detectable cumulative effect over time. This paper focuses on two physical mechanisms that cause orbital periods changes in late type binaries with negligible mass loss from the system: the dynamical evolution due to magnetic braking in tidally locked systems, and the transfer of angular momentum among the outer layers of their components. We present a review of the current theories and discuss the observability of these phenomena on the typical time span of the currently available records.
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