On the possibility of the nonexplosive core contraction of massive stars: new evolutionary paths from rotating white dwarfs to rotating neutron stars

Atsuyuki Hayashi, Yoshiharu Eriguchi, Masa Aki Hashimoto

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18 Citations (Scopus)


We have found that a new and nonexplosive evolutionary path from stars in the white dwarf region to stars in the neutron star region may be possible. Such a process can be realized if we incorporate both a large amount of rotation and the temperature effect on the equation of state. The large value of angular momentum is required to make stars secularly unstable because of gravitational radiation emission. For high temperature matter, the contribution of the temperature and the electron fraction to the pressure becomes large enough to make rotating stars dynamically stable against axisymmetric perturbations. Thus, equilibrium states may exist for rotating compact stars that are dynamically stable against axisymmetric collapse but secularly unstable. The evolution of dynamically stable and secularly unstable rotating stars can proceed as follows. The secular instability is caused by the emission of gravitational waves that carry away the angular momentum of the star. Stars with less angular momentum will contract to higher density states. This process occurs rather slowly, i.e., not on a dynamical timescale but on a secular timescale of gravitational radiation emission. Consequently, compact configurations such as white dwarfs in this category may undergo nonexplosive and slow contraction. This contraction leads some configurations to neutron stars and others to black holes, depending on the mass and the angular momentum. If the final outcomes are neutron stars, they are both dynamically and secularly stable because some of the angular momentum is lost. Therefore, we have succeeded in showing that "fizzlers" can exist, although Newtonian gravity is used. This evolution is likely to occur within the central region of massive stars. Since the central region of a massive star is hot, high-temperature effects become important. Concerning high angular momentum, massive stars in the main sequence stage usually rotate rather rapidly. It implies that the angular momentum of the core can also be large enough to lead to secular instability. Thus, cores of massive stars may contract on a long timescale without being accompanied by supernova explosions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-297
Number of pages12
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART I
Publication statusPublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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