Computer Simulations Unravel Mysteries of Cannibal Neutron Stars’ Explosive Behavior

Astrophysicists in Stony Brook, New York, are delving into the chaotic nature of cannibal neutron stars through advanced computer simulations. Neutron stars, which are remnants of massive stars that have exploded in a supernova, exhibit extreme density, packing immense mass into a tiny sphere up to 2.3 times that of the Sun. These ultra-dense objects can provide valuable insights into how matter behaves under extreme conditions.

By studying X-ray bursts produced when neutron stars accrete material from a companion star, scientists aim to unravel the mysteries of these intense stellar phenomena. The simulations conducted by computational astrophysicist Michael Zingale and his team provide a detailed look at the evolution and spread of X-ray flares across neutron stars’ surfaces. This endeavor sheds light on the properties of neutron stars and aids in understanding the behavior of matter within them.

Utilizing the Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, researchers have upgraded their simulations from two to three dimensions, allowing for a more comprehensive analysis of thermonuclear flames on neutron stars. The models created simulate a neutron star with a temperature millions of times hotter than the Sun and a spin speed nearing the upper limit observed in these celestial bodies.

While the 2D simulation displays slightly faster flame spread compared to the 3D version, both models show similar growth trends. This consistency suggests that the 2D simulation remains a valuable tool for studying the explosive events on neutron stars, albeit with some limitations. Understanding turbulence behavior in different dimensions is crucial for enhancing the accuracy of simulations and gaining deeper insights into the tantrums thrown by neutron stars.

The continuous development of these simulations offers promising prospects for unraveling the complexities of neutron stars and their volatile behavior. By bridging the gap between theoretical models and observational data, scientists strive to enhance their understanding of these enigmatic cosmic entities. The research, published in The Astrophysical Journal, signifies a significant step forward in deciphering the enigmatic behavior of neutron stars.