Neutron Stars. How were neutron stars discovered? The first neutron star was discovered by 24-year-old graduate student Jocelyn Bell in 1967.

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1 Neutron Stars How were neutron stars discovered? The first neutron star was discovered by 24-year-old graduate student Jocelyn Bell in Using a radio telescope she noticed regular pulses of radio emission coming from a single part of the sky (LGM). Pulsar at center of Crab Nebula pulses 30 times per second! She discovered a pulsar: pulsar is a neutron star that gives off very regular pulses of radiation. Pulsars are rotating neutron stars that act like lighthouses. Beams of radiation coming from poles; look like pulses as they sweep by Earth. A pulsar s rotation is not aligned with magnetic poles. 1

2 Why Pulsars must be Neutron Stars Circumference of NS = 2π (radius) ~ 60 km Spin Rate of Fast Pulsars ~ 1000 cycles per second Surface Rotation Velocity ~ 60,000 km/s ~ 20% speed of light ~ escape velocity from NS What happens to a neutron star in a close binary system? Anything else would be torn to pieces! Accreting matter adds angular momentum to a neutron star, increasing its spin. Matter falling toward a neutron star forms an accretion disk, just as in a white-dwarf binary. Episodes of fusion on the surface lead to Xray bursts. What is a black hole? Black H les: Gravity s Ultimate Victory 2

3 What happens to the escape velocity from an object if you shrink it? A black hole is an object whose gravity is so powerful that not even light can escape it! A. It increases B. It decreases C. It stays the same What happens to the escape velocity from an object if you shrink it? Hint: A. It increases B. It decreases C. It stays the same What happens to the escape velocity from an object if you shrink it? Hint: A. It increases B. It decreases C. It stays the same Initial Kinetic Energy Escape Velocity = Initial Gravitational Potential Energy Light would not be able to escape Earth s surface if you could shrink it to < 1cm! (escape velocity) 2 G x (mass) = 2 (radius) 3

4 The surface of a black hole is an imaginary sphere at which the escape velocity equals the speed of light. This spherical surface is known as the event horizon. The radius of the event horizon is known as the Schwarzschild radius. A black hole s mass strongly warps space and time (so-called spacetime) in vicinity of event horizon (EH). No Escape Past EH Nothing can escape from within the event horizon (EH) because nothing can travel faster than light. No escape means there is no more contact with something that falls in. It increases the hole mass, changes the spin or charge, but otherwise loses its identity. Neutron Star Limit Quantum mechanics says that neutrons in the same place cannot be in the same state. Neutron degeneracy pressure can no longer support a neutron star against gravity if its mass exceeds about 2-3 M Sun. Some massive star supernovae can make black hole if enough mass falls onto the core. Neutron star Beyond the neutron star limit, no known force can resist the crush of gravity. As far as we know, gravity crushes all the matter into a single point known as a singularity. 3 M Sun Black Hole The event horizon of a 3 M Sun black hole is also about as big as a small city. 4

5 How does the radius of the event horizon change when you add mass to a black hole? A. Increases B. Decreases C. Stays the same How does the radius of the event horizon change when you add mass to a black hole? A. Increases B. Decreases C. Stays the same What would it be like to visit a black hole? If the Sun shrank into a black hole, its gravity would be different only near the event horizon. Black holes don t suck! Light waves take extra time to climb out of a deep hole in spacetime leading to a gravitational redshift. Time passes slower near the event horizon. 5

6 Tidal forces near the event horizon of a 3 M Sun black hole would be lethal to humans (stretch+squeeze). However, tidal forces would be gentler near a supermassive black hole, because its radius is much greater. Do black holes really exist? Black Hole Verification Need to measure mass Use orbital properties of companion star Measure velocity and distance of orbiting gas It is a black hole if it is not a star and its mass exceeds the neutron star limit (~3 M Sun )! Some X-ray binaries contain compact objects of mass exceeding 3 M Sun which are likely to be black holes. Are X-ray binaries with black holes X-ray bursters? A. Yes B. No C. It depends One famous X-ray binary with a likely black hole is in the constellation Cygnus. 6

7 Are X-ray binaries with black holes X-ray bursters? A. Yes B. No C. It depends Special topic: gamma ray bursts? Gamma ray bursts may signal the births of new black holes. At least some gamma ray bursts come from supernovae in very distant galaxies. 7

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