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Astron. Astrophys. 341, 499-526 (1999)

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Mass ejection in neutron star mergers

S. Rosswog 1, M. Liebendörfer 1, F.-K. Thielemann 1, M.B. Davies 2, W. Benz 3 and T. Piran 4

1 Departement für Physik und Astronomie, Universität Basel, Switzerland
2 Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, UK
3 Physikalisches Institut, Universität Bern, Switzerland
4 Racah Institute for Physics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

Received 29 April 1998 / Accepted 7 September 1998


We present the results of 3D Newtonian SPH simulations of the merger of a neutron star binary. The microscopic properties of matter are described by the physical equation of state of Lattimer and Swesty (LS-EOS). To check the model dependence of the results we vary the resolution ([FORMULA] and [FORMULA] particles), the equation of state (stiff and soft polytropes), the artificial viscosity scheme, the stellar masses, we include neutrinos (free-streaming limit), switch off the gravitational backreaction force, and vary the initial stellar spins. In addition we test the influence of the initial configuration, i.e. spherical stars versus corotating equilibrium configurations. The final matter distribution consists of a rapidly spinning central object with 2.5 to 3.1 [FORMULA] of baryonic mass that probably collapses to a black hole, a thick disk of 0.1 to 0.3 [FORMULA] and an extended low density region. In the case of corotation this low density material forms spiral arms that expand explosively due to an increase of the adiabatic exponent and the release of nuclear binding energy in the case of the LS-EOS, but remain narrow and well defined for the stiff polytropic equation of state. The main and new result is that for the realistic LS-EOS, depending on the initial spin, between [FORMULA] and [FORMULA] [FORMULA] of material become unbound. If, as suggested, large parts of this matter consist of r-process nuclei, neutron star mergers could account for the whole observed r-process material in the Galaxy.

Key words: hydrodynamics – stars: binaries: close – stars: neutron – gamma rays: bursts

Send offprint requests to: S. Rosswog (e-mail: rosswog@quasar.physik.unibas.ch) Fax: +41 61 267 3784

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: December 4, 1998