NASA Supercomputer Simulation Shows Neutron Stars Forming Black Hole

Posted on May 14, 2014

Neutron Stars image


This new NASA supercomputer simulation shows neutron stars colliding, merging and forming a black hole. A neutron star is the compressed core left behind when a star (with a mass eight to 30 times our Sun) explodes as a supernova. Neutron stars pack about 1.5 times the mass of the sun into a ball just 12 miles (20 km) across. A cubic centimeter of neutron star matter outweighs Mount Everest.

Scientists think neutron star mergers produce short incredibly powerful gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). These GRBs last less than second seconds yet unleash as much energy as all the stars in the Milky Way produce in one year.

The simulation begins with neutron stars weighing 1.4 and 1.7 solar masses that are separated by only 11 miles. NASA explains what is taking place in the animation:
By 7 milliseconds, tidal forces overwhelm and shatter the lesser star. Its superdense contents erupt into the system and curl a spiral arm of incredibly hot material. At 13 milliseconds, the more massive star has accumulated too much mass to support it against gravity and collapses, and a new black hole is born.
Take a look:



Photo: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center