Both the core collapse of rotating massive stars, and the coalescence of neutron star (NS) binaries result in the formation of a hot, differentially rotating NS remnant. The timescales over which differential rotation is removed by internal angular-momentum transport processes (viscosity) have key implications for the remnant’s long-term stability and the NS equation of state (EOS). Guided by a nonrotating model of a cooling proto-NS, we estimate the dominant sources of viscosity using an externally imposed angular-velocity profile Ω(r). Although the magneto-rotational instability provides the dominant source of effective viscosity at large radii, convection and/or the Tayler-Spruit dynamo dominate in the core of merger remnants where dΩ/dr ≥ 0. Furthermore, the viscous timescale in the remnant core is sufficiently short that solid-body rotation will be enforced faster than matter is accreted from rotationally supported outer layers. Guided by these results, we develop a toy model for how the merger remnant core grows in mass and angular momentum due to accretion. We find that merger remnants with sufficiently massive and slowly rotating initial cores may collapse to black holes via envelope accretion, even when the total remnant mass is less than the usually considered threshold ≈1.2 M TOV for forming a stable solid-body rotating NS remnant (where M TOV is the maximum nonrotating NS mass supported by the EOS). This qualitatively new picture of the post-merger remnant evolution and stability criterion has important implications for the expected electromagnetic counterparts from binary NS mergers and for multimessenger constraints on the NS EOS.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science