Wednesday, June 19, 2013

1306.4034 (J. D. Kaplan et al.)

The Influence of Thermal Pressure on Hypermassive Neutron Star Merger Remnants    [PDF]

J. D. Kaplan, C. D. Ott, E. P. O'Connor, K. Kiuchi, L. Roberts, M. Duez
The merger of two neutron stars leaves behind a rapidly spinning hypermassive object whose survival is believed to depend on the maximum mass supported by the nuclear equation of state, angular momentum redistribution by (magneto-)rotational instabilities, and spindown by gravitational waves. The high temperatures (~5-40 MeV) prevailing in the merger remnant may provide thermal pressure support that could increase its maximum mass and, thus, its life on a neutrino-cooling timescale. We investigate the role of thermal pressure support in hypermassive merger remnants by computing sequences of spherically-symmetric and axisymmetric uniformly and differentially rotating equilibrium solutions to the general-relativistic stellar structure equations. Using a set of finite-temperature nuclear equations of state, we find that hot maximum-mass critically spinning configurations generally do not support larger baryonic masses than their cold counterparts. However, subcritically spinning configurations with mean density of less than a few times nuclear saturation density yield a significantly thermally enhanced mass. Even without decreasing the maximum mass, cooling and other forms of energy loss can drive the remnant to an unstable state. We infer secular instability by identifying approximate energy turning points in equilibrium sequences of constant baryonic mass parametrized by maximum density. Energy loss carries the remnant along the direction of decreasing gravitational mass and higher density until instability triggers collapse. Since configurations with more thermal pressure support are less compact and thus begin their evolution at a lower maximum density, they remain stable for longer periods after merger.
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