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Astron. Astrophys. 331, 280-290 (1998)

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Spontaneous symmetry breaking of rapidly rotating stars in general relativity: influence of the 3D-shift vector

S. Bonazzola, J. Frieben and E. Gourgoulhon

Département d'Astrophysique Relativiste et de Cosmologie (UPR 176 du CNRS), Observatoire de Paris, Section de Meudon, F-92195 Meudon Cedex, France (frieben@obspm.fr)

Received 30 June 1997 / Accepted 17 September 1997


An analytical scheme and a numerical method in order to study the effects of general relativity on the viscosity driven secular bar mode instability of rapidly rotating stars are presented. The approach consists in perturbing an axisymmetric and stationary configuration and studying its evolution by constructing a series of triaxial quasi-equilibrium configurations. These are obtained by solution of an approximate set of field equations where only the dominant non-axisymmetric terms are taken into account. The progress with respect to our former investigation consists in a higher relativistic order of the non-axisymmetric terms included into the computation, namely the fully three-dimensional treatment of the vector part of the space-time metric tensor as opposed to the scalar part, solely, in the former case. The scheme is applied to rotating stars built on a polytropic equation of state and compared to our previous results. The 3D-vector part turns out to inhibit the symmetry breaking efficiently. Nevertheless, the bar mode instability is still possible for an astrophysically relevant mass of [FORMULA] when a stiff polytropic equation of state with an adiabatic index of [FORMULA] is employed. Triaxial neutron stars may be efficient emitters of gravitational waves and are thus potentially interesting sources for the forthcoming laser interferometric gravitational wave detectors such as LIGO, VIRGO and GEO600. From a numerical point of view, the solution of the three-dimensional minimal-distortion shift vector equation in spherical coordinates is an important achievement of our code.

Key words: gravitation – instabilities – relativity – stars: rotation

Send offprint requests to: J. Frieben


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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: February 4, 1998