Neutron Star Simulations Uncover Chaotic Thermonuclear Flares in Groundbreaking Research

NEW YORK, NY – Scientists in New York are using computer simulations to gain a deeper understanding of the explosive behavior of cannibal neutron stars.

Neutron stars, some of the densest objects in the universe, are formed when a massive star collapses, leaving behind a small, extremely dense core. When a neutron star pulls material from a nearby companion star, the ensuing unstable burning of this material can result in a powerful explosion that emits X-radiation across space.

Through detailed simulations, researchers are unraveling the mysteries surrounding these X-ray flares and the behavior of neutron stars. By replicating observed events with simulations, scientists are shedding light on the ultra-dense nature of neutron stars and the properties of matter at extreme densities.

Computational astrophysicist Michael Zingale of the State University of New York at Stony Brook emphasizes the importance of understanding neutron stars to comprehend the behavior of matter under such extreme conditions.

The simulations, conducted on the Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, are providing insights into the evolution and spread of X-ray bursts on neutron stars. By expanding their simulations into three dimensions, researchers aim to connect these simulations with observed phenomena to gain a better understanding of the underlying structure of neutron stars.

The research delves into the 3D modeling of neutron stars with temperatures millions of times hotter than the Sun and spin speeds close to the theoretical upper limit. Despite differences in the speed of flame spread between 2D and 3D simulations, the overall growth trends remain consistent, highlighting the efficacy of 2D simulations in studying these explosive events.

While turbulence behaves differently in two and three dimensions, researchers are utilizing the strengths of both simulation models to enhance their understanding of neutron star behavior. By refining the simulations, scientists hope to unveil the mechanisms behind the intense tantrums displayed by neutron stars.

The findings, published in The Astrophysical Journal, mark an exciting step towards comprehensive modeling of thermonuclear flames on neutron stars.