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Working with an international team, scientists at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed new computer models to explore what happens when a black hole joins with a neutron star -- the superdense remnant of an exploded star.
The simulations, carried out in part at Berkeley Lab's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), are intended to help detectors home in on the gravitational-wave signals. Telescopes, too, can search for the brilliant bursts of gamma-rays and the glow of the radioactive matter that these exotic events can spew into surrounding space.
Papers - Edition - Journal - Classical - Quantum
In separate papers published in a special edition of the scientific journal Classical and Quantum Gravity, Berkeley Lab and other researchers present the results of detailed simulations.
One of the studies models the first milliseconds (thousandths of a second) in the merger of a black hole and neutron star, and the other details separate simulations that model the formation of a disk of material formed within seconds of the merger, and of the evolution of matter that is ejected in the merger.
Gold - Platinum - Range - Elements - Iron
That ejected matter likely includes gold and platinum and a range of radioactive elements that are heavier than iron.
Any new information scientists can gather about how neutron stars rip apart in these mergers can help to unlock their secrets, as their inner structure and their likely role in seeding the universe with heavy elements are still shrouded in mystery.
Physics - Simulations - Foucart - Lead - Author
"We are steadily adding more realistic physics to the simulations," said -- Foucart, who served as a lead author for one of the studies as a postdoctoral researcher in Berkeley Lab's Nuclear Science Division.
"But we still don't know what's happening inside neutron stars. The complicated physics that we need to model make the simulations very computationally intensive."
Foucart - Assistant - Professor - University
Foucart, who will soon be an assistant professor at the University of...
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