49 research outputs found

### The Final Fate of Binary Neutron Stars: What Happens After the Merger?

The merger of two neutron stars usually produces a remnant with a mass
significantly above the single (nonrotating) neutron star maximum mass. In some
cases, the remnant will be stabilized against collapse by rapid, differential
rotation. MHD-driven angular momentum transport eventually leads to the
collapse of the remnant's core, resulting in a black hole surrounded by a
massive accretion torus. Here we present simulations of this process. The
plausibility of generating short duration gamma ray bursts through this
scenario is discussed.Comment: 3 pages. To appear in the Proceedings of the Eleventh Marcel
Grossmann Meeting, Berlin, Germany, 23-29 July 2006, World Scientific,
Singapore (2007

### Magnetic Braking and Viscous Damping of Differential Rotation in Cylindrical Stars

Differential rotation in stars generates toroidal magnetic fields whenever an
initial seed poloidal field is present. The resulting magnetic stresses, along
with viscosity, drive the star toward uniform rotation. This magnetic braking
has important dynamical consequences in many astrophysical contexts. For
example, merging binary neutron stars can form "hypermassive" remnants
supported against collapse by differential rotation. The removal of this
support by magnetic braking induces radial fluid motion, which can lead to
delayed collapse of the remnant to a black hole. We explore the effects of
magnetic braking and viscosity on the structure of a differentially rotating,
compressible star, generalizing our earlier calculations for incompressible
configurations. The star is idealized as a differentially rotating, infinite
cylinder supported initially by a polytropic equation of state. The gas is
assumed to be infinitely conducting and our calculations are performed in
Newtonian gravitation. Though highly idealized, our model allows for the
incorporation of magnetic fields, viscosity, compressibility, and shocks with
minimal computational resources in a 1+1 dimensional Lagrangian MHD code. Our
evolution calculations show that magnetic braking can lead to significant
structural changes in a star, including quasistatic contraction of the core and
ejection of matter in the outermost regions to form a wind or an ambient disk.
These calculations serve as a prelude and a guide to more realistic MHD
simulations in full 3+1 general relativity.Comment: 20 pages, 19 figures, 3 tables, AASTeX, accepted by Ap

### Relativistic Magnetohydrodynamics In Dynamical Spacetimes: Numerical Methods And Tests

Many problems at the forefront of theoretical astrophysics require the
treatment of magnetized fluids in dynamical, strongly curved spacetimes. Such
problems include the origin of gamma-ray bursts, magnetic braking of
differential rotation in nascent neutron stars arising from stellar core
collapse or binary neutron star merger, the formation of jets and magnetized
disks around newborn black holes, etc. To model these phenomena, all of which
involve both general relativity (GR) and magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), we have
developed a GRMHD code capable of evolving MHD fluids in dynamical spacetimes.
Our code solves the Einstein-Maxwell-MHD system of coupled equations in
axisymmetry and in full 3+1 dimensions. We evolve the metric by integrating the
BSSN equations, and use a conservative, shock-capturing scheme to evolve the
MHD equations. Our code gives accurate results in standard MHD code-test
problems, including magnetized shocks and magnetized Bondi flow. To test our
code's ability to evolve the MHD equations in a dynamical spacetime, we study
the perturbations of a homogeneous, magnetized fluid excited by a gravitational
plane wave, and we find good agreement between the analytic and numerical
solutions.Comment: 22 pages, 15 figures, accepted for publication in Phys. Rev.

### Eccentric black hole-neutron star mergers: effects of black hole spin and equation of state

There is a high level of interest in black hole-neutron star binaries, not
only because their mergers may be detected by gravitational wave observatories
in the coming years, but also because of the possibility that they could
explain a class of short duration gamma-ray bursts. We study black hole-neutron
star mergers that occur with high eccentricity as may arise from dynamical
capture in dense stellar regions such as nuclear or globular clusters. We
perform general relativistic simulations of binaries with a range of impact
parameters, three different initial black hole spins (zero, aligned and
anti-aligned with the orbital angular momentum), and neutron stars with three
different equations of state. We find a rich diversity across these parameters
in the resulting gravitational wave signals and matter dynamics, which should
also be reflected in the consequent electromagnetic emission. Before tidal
disruption, the gravitational wave emission is significantly larger than
perturbative predictions suggest for periapsis distances close to effective
innermost stable separations, exhibiting features reflecting the zoom-whirl
dynamics of the orbit there. Guided by the simulations, we develop a simple
model for the change in orbital parameters of the binary during close
encounters. Depending upon the initial parameters of the system, we find that
mass transfer during non-merging close encounters can range from essentially
zero to a sizable fraction of the initial neutron star mass. The same holds for
the amount of material outside the black hole post-merger, and in some cases
roughly half of this material is estimated to be unbound. We also see that
non-merging close encounters generically excite large oscillations in the
neutron star that are qualitatively consistent with f-modes.Comment: 19 pages, 13 figures, revised according to referee comment

### Collapse of magnetized hypermassive neutron stars in general relativity

Hypermassive neutron stars (HMNSs) -- equilibrium configurations supported
against collapse by rapid differential rotation -- are possible transient
remnants of binary neutron star mergers. Using newly developed codes for
magnetohydrodynamic simulations in dynamical spacetimes, we are able to track
the evolution of a magnetized HMNS in full general relativity for the first
time. We find that secular angular momentum transport due to magnetic braking
and the magnetorotational instability results in the collapse of an HMNS to a
rotating black hole, accompanied by a gravitational wave burst. The nascent
black hole is surrounded by a hot, massive torus undergoing quasistationary
accretion and a collimated magnetic field. This scenario suggests that HMNS
collapse is a possible candidate for the central engine of short gamma-ray
bursts.Comment: Accepted for publication in Phys. Rev. Letter

### Evolution of magnetized, differentially rotating neutron stars: Simulations in full general relativity

We study the effects of magnetic fields on the evolution of differentially
rotating neutron stars, which can form in stellar core collapse or binary
neutron star coalescence. Magnetic braking and the magnetorotational
instability (MRI) both redistribute angular momentum; the outcome of the
evolution depends on the star's mass and spin. Simulations are carried out in
axisymmetry using our recently developed codes which integrate the coupled
Einstein-Maxwell-MHD equations. For initial data, we consider three categories
of differentially rotating, equilibrium configurations, which we label normal,
hypermassive and ultraspinning. Hypermassive stars have rest masses exceeding
the mass limit for uniform rotation. Ultraspinning stars are not hypermassive,
but have angular momentum exceeding the maximum for uniform rotation at the
same rest mass. We show that a normal star will evolve to a uniformly rotating
equilibrium configuration. An ultraspinning star evolves to an equilibrium
state consisting of a nearly uniformly rotating central core, surrounded by a
differentially rotating torus with constant angular velocity along magnetic
field lines, so that differential rotation ceases to wind the magnetic field.
In addition, the final state is stable against the MRI, although it has
differential rotation. For a hypermassive neutron star, the MHD-driven angular
momentum transport leads to catastrophic collapse of the core. The resulting
rotating black hole is surrounded by a hot, massive, magnetized torus
undergoing quasistationary accretion, and a magnetic field collimated along the
spin axis--a promising candidate for the central engine of a short gamma-ray
burst. (Abridged)Comment: 27 pages, 30 figure

### Magnetorotational collapse of massive stellar cores to neutron stars: Simulations in full general relativity

We study magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) effects arising in the collapse of
magnetized, rotating, massive stellar cores to proto-neutron stars (PNSs). We
perform axisymmetric numerical simulations in full general relativity with a
hybrid equation of state. The formation and early evolution of a PNS are
followed with a grid of 2500 x 2500 zones, which provides better resolution
than in previous (Newtonian) studies. We confirm that significant differential
rotation results even when the rotation of the progenitor is initially uniform.
Consequently, the magnetic field is amplified both by magnetic winding and the
magnetorotational instability (MRI). Even if the magnetic energy E_EM is much
smaller than the rotational kinetic energy T_rot at the time of PNS formation,
the ratio E_EM/T_rot increases to 0.1-0.2 by the magnetic winding. Following
PNS formation, MHD outflows lead to losses of rest mass, energy, and angular
momentum from the system. The earliest outflow is produced primarily by the
increasing magnetic stress caused by magnetic winding. The MRI amplifies the
poloidal field and increases the magnetic stress, causing further angular
momentum transport and helping to drive the outflow. After the magnetic field
saturates, a nearly stationary, collimated magnetic field forms near the
rotation axis and a Blandford-Payne type outflow develops along the field
lines. These outflows remove angular momentum from the PNS at a rate given by
\dot{J} \sim \eta E_EM C_B, where \eta is a constant of order 0.1 and C_B is a
typical ratio of poloidal to toroidal field strength. As a result, the rotation
period quickly increases for a strongly magnetized PNS until the degree of
differential rotation decreases. Our simulations suggest that rapidly rotating,
magnetized PNSs may not give rise to rapidly rotating neutron stars.Comment: 28 pages, 20 figures, accepted for publication in Phys. Rev.