Astrophysicists Explain Puzzling Results From Gravitational Wave Observatories

Binary Neutron Star Formation

In the late stages of binary neutron star formation, the giant star expands and engulfs the neutron star companion in a stage referred to as common-envelope evolution (a). Ejection of the envelope leaves the neutron star in a close orbit with a stripped-envelope star. The evolution of the system depends on the mass ratio. Less-massive stripped stars experience an additional mass transfer phase that further strips the star and recycles the pulsar companion, leading to systems such as the observed binary neutron stars in the Milky Way and GW170817 (b). More massive stripped stars do not expand as much, therefore avoiding further stripping and companion recycling, leading to systems such as GW190425 (c). Finally, even more massive stripped stars with will lead to black hole-neutron star binaries such as GW200115 (d). Credit: Vigna-Gomez et al., ApJL 2021

Astrophysicists Explain the Origin of Unusually Heavy Neutron Star Binaries

Simulations of supernova explosions of massive stars paired with neutron stars can explain puzzling results from gravitational wave observatories.

A new study showing how the explosion of a stripped massive star in a supernova can lead to the formation of a heavy

“It was so shocking that we had to start thinking about how to create a heavy neutron star without making it a

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