Rapidly rotating polytropes in general relativity

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We construct an extensive set of equilibrium sequences of rotating polytropes in general relativity. We determine a number of important physical parameters of such stars, including maximum mass and maximum spin rate. The stability of the configurations against quasi-radial perturbations is diagnosed. Two classes of evolutionary sequences of fixed rest mass and entropy are explored: normal sequences which behave very much like Newtonian evolutionary sequences, and supramassive sequences which exist solely because of relativistic effects. Dissipation leading to loss of angular momentum causes a star to evolve in a quasi-stationary fashion along an evolutionary sequence. Supramassive sequences evolve towards eventual catastrophic collapse to a black hole. Prior to collapse, the star must spin up as it loses angular momentum, an effect which may provide an observational precursor to gravitational collapse to a black hole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-242
Number of pages16
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 10 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Black hole physics
  • Relativity
  • Stars: neutron
  • Stars: rotation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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