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A Way to Produce Neutron Star-Black Hole Binaries

16 May 2015, 22:00 UTC
A Way to Produce Neutron Star-Black Hole Binaries
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Massive stars in binary systems can potentially evolve to form exotic compact binary objects such as neutron star-black hole (NS-BH) binaries or neutron star-neutron star (NS-NS) binaries. Consider a binary system with two massive stars closely orbiting one another. The more massive star evolves quicker and eventually runs out of nuclear fuel to support itself. Its core collapses to form a neutron star (NS) via a supernova explosion. Meanwhile, the less massive star continues to evolve and swells in size as it builds up a carbon-oxygen (CO) core in its center. The star’s outer layers eventually engulf the nearby NS and cause the NS to spiral inwards, towards the CO core.As the NS spirals in, it transfers angular momentum to the star’s outer layers. This causes the star’s other layers, comprised mostly of hydrogen and helium, to be expelled into space, leaving behind a massive CO core. What was once a binary system consisting of two massive stars is now a tightly-bound binary system consisting of a massive CO core with ~2 times the Sun’s mass and a NS with more than ~2 times the Sun’s mass. Subsequently, the massive CO core also collapses in a supernova explosion, leaving behind ...

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