Rapidly rotating neutron stars in general relativity: Realistic equations of state

Gregory B. Cook, Stuart L. Shapiro, Saul A. Teukolsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We construct equilibrium sequences of rotating neutron stars in general relativity. We compare results for 14 nuclear matter equations of state. We determine a number of important physical parameters for such stars, including the maximum mass and maximum spin rate. The stability of the configurations to quasi-radial perturbations is assessed. We employ a numerical scheme particularly well suited to handle rapid rotation and large departures from spherical symmetry. We provide an extensive tabulation of models for future reference. Two classes of evolutionary sequences of fixed baryon rest mass and entropy are explored: normal sequences, which behave very much like Newtonian evolutionary sequences, and supramassive sequences, which exist for neutron stars solely because of general relativistic effects. Adiabatic dissipation of energy and angular momentum causes a star to evolve in a quasi-stationary fashion along an evolutionary sequence. Supramassive sequences have masses exceeding the maximum mass of a nonrotating neutron star. A supramassive star evolves toward eventual catastrophic collapse to a black hole. Prior to collapse, the star actually spins up as it loses angular momentum, an effect that may provide an observable precursor to gravitational collapse to a black hole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-845
Number of pages23
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Equation of state
  • Pulsars: general
  • Relativity
  • Stars: neutron
  • Stars: rotation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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