The Alchemy of Neutron Star Collisions

Discussion in 'Physics' started by nsaspook, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. nsaspook

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    Aug 27, 2009
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  2. Glenn Holland

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    Dec 26, 2014
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    Since an ordinary neutron that's "free" (not bound to the nucleus of an atom) will decay in an average of 15 minutes, then why doesn't a neutron star decay? The answer seems to be that the intense gravity counteracts any forces that would cause decay. However, if two neutron stars get close enough that the gravity is neutralized, it seems that they could decay - and possibly explosively.
     
  3. nsaspook

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    Good question but I don't think you mean to use the word neutralized. How could the gravity well of either neutron star be neutralized? The fast-moving mass ejecta from a binary neutron merger is from gravitational energy being transferred in the matter as KE tidal forces rips mass into the space around the pair. As this ripped away mass moves away from the spinning pair mass it naturally moves into a area of less gravity to become unbound to the star in the right conditions. The bulk star mass doesn't escape or neutralize gravity. It falls into a deeper gravity well.


    Visualization of the electron fraction in a binary neutron star merger simulation. The blue color denotes neutron rich material, while the red color denotes material with electron fraction 0.5 (i.e., equal number of neutrons and protons).
     
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