Importance of cooling in triggering the collapse of hypermassive neutron stars

Vasileios Paschalidis, Zachariah B. Etienne, Stuart L. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The inspiral and merger of a binary neutron star (NSNS) can lead to the formation of a hypermassive neutron star (HMNS). As the HMNS loses thermal pressure due to neutrino cooling and/or centrifugal support due to gravitational wave emission, and/or magnetic breaking of differential rotation, it will collapse to a black hole. To assess the importance of shock-induced thermal pressure and cooling, we adopt an idealized equation of state and perform NSNS simulations in full general relativity through late inspiral, merger, and HMNS formation, accounting for cooling. We show that thermal pressure contributes significantly to the support of the HMNS against collapse and that thermal cooling accelerates its "delayed" collapse. Our simulations demonstrate explicitly that cooling can induce the catastrophic collapse of a hot hypermassive neutron star formed following the merger of binary neutron stars. Thus, cooling physics is important to include in NSNS merger calculations to accurately determine the lifetime of the HMNS remnant and to extract information about the neutron star equation of state, cooling mechanisms, bar instabilities and B-fields from the gravitational waves emitted during the transient phase prior to black hole formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number064032
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 18 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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