518 research outputs found

    Numerical Models of Binary Neutron Star System Mergers. I.: Numerical Methods and Equilibrium Data for Newtonian Models

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    The numerical modeling of binary neutron star mergers has become a subject of much interest in recent years. While a full and accurate model of this phenomenon would require the evolution of the equations of relativistic hydrodynamics along with the Einstein field equations, a qualitative study of the early stages on inspiral can be accomplished by either Newtonian or post-Newtonian models, which are more tractable. In this paper we offer a comparison of results from both rotating and non-rotating (inertial) frame Newtonian calculations. We find that the rotating frame calculations offer significantly improved accuracy as compared with the inertial frame models. Furthermore, we show that inertial frame models exhibit significant and erroneous angular momentum loss during the simulations that leads to an unphysical inspiral of the two neutron stars. We also examine the dependence of the models on initial conditions by considering initial configurations that consist of spherical neutron stars as well as stars that are in equilibrium and which are tidally distorted. We compare our models those of Rasio & Shapiro (1992,1994a) and New & Tohline (1997). Finally, we investigate the use of the isolated star approximation for the construction of initial data.Comment: 32 pages, 19 gif figures, manuscript with postscript figures available at http://www.astro.sunysb.edu/dswesty/docs/nspap1.p

    Black Hole - Neutron Star Mergers as Central Engines of Gamma-Ray Bursts

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    Hydrodynamic simulations of the merger of stellar mass black hole - neutron star binaries (BH/NS) are compared with mergers of binary neutron stars (NS/NS). The simulations are Newtonian, but take into account the emission and backreaction of gravitational waves. The use of a physical nuclear equation of state allows us to include the effects of neutrino emission. For low neutron star to black hole mass ratios the neutron star transfers mass to the black hole during a few cycles of orbital decay and subsequent widening before finally being disrupted, whereas for ratios near unity the neutron star is already distroyed during its first approach. A gas mass between about 0.3 and about 0.7 solar masses is left in an accretion torus around the black hole and radiates neutrinos at a luminosity of several 10^{53} erg/s during an estimated accretion time scale of about 0.1 s. The emitted neutrinos and antineutrinos annihilate into electron-positron pairs with efficiencies of 1-3% percent and rates of up to 2*10^{52} erg/s, thus depositing an energy of up to 10^{51} erg above the poles of the black hole in a region which contains less than 10^{-5} solar masses of baryonic matter. This could allow for relativistic expansion with Lorentz factors around 100 and is sufficient to explain apparent burst luminosities of up to several 10^{53} erg/s for burst durations of approximately 0.1-1 s, if the gamma emission is collimated in two moderately focussed jets in a fraction of about 1/100-1/10 of the sky.Comment: 8 pages, LaTex, 4 postscript figures, 2 tables. ApJ Letters, accepted; revised and shortened version, Fig. 2 change

    A Solution to the Protostellar Accretion Problem

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    Accretion rates of order 10^-8 M_\odot/yr are observed in young protostars of approximately a solar mass with evidence of circumstellar disks. The accretion rate is significantly lower for protostars of smaller mass, approximately proportional to the second power of the stellar mass, \dot{M}_accr\propto M^2. The traditional view is that the observed accretion is the consequence of the angular momentum transport in isolated protostellar disks, controlled by disk turbulence or self--gravity. However, these processes are not well understood and the observed protostellar accretion, a fundamental aspect of star formation, remains an unsolved problem. In this letter we propose the protostellar accretion rate is controlled by accretion from the large scale gas distribution in the parent cloud, not by the isolated disk evolution. Describing this process as Bondi--Hoyle accretion, we obtain accretion rates comparable to the observed ones. We also reproduce the observed dependence of the accretion rate on the protostellar mass. These results are based on realistic values of the ambient gas density and velocity, as inferred from numerical simulations of star formation in self--gravitating turbulent clouds.Comment: 4 pages, 2 figures, ApJ Letters, in pres

    Accretion onto the Companion of Eta Carinae During the Spectroscopic Event: II. X-Ray Emission Cycle

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    We calculate the X-ray luminosity and light curve for the stellar binary system Eta Carinae for the entire orbital period of 5.54 years. By using a new approach we find, as suggested before, that the collision of the winds blown by the two stars can explain the X-ray emission and temporal behavior. Most X-ray emission in the 2-10 \kev band results from the shocked secondary stellar wind. The observed rise in X-ray luminosity just before minimum is due to increase in density and subsequent decrease in radiative cooling time of the shocked fast secondary wind. Absorption, particularly of the soft X-rays from the primary wind, increases as the system approaches periastron and the shocks are produced deep inside the primary wind. However, absorption can not account for the drastic X-ray minimum. The 70 day minimum is assumed to result from the collapse of the collision region of the two winds onto the secondary star. This process is assumed to shut down the secondary wind, hence the main X-ray source. We show that this assumption provides a phenomenological description of the X-ray behavior around the minimum.Comment: The Astrophysical Journal, in pres
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