1 Astronomy 110: SURVEY OF ASTRONOMY 11. Dead Stars 1. White Dwarfs and Supernovae 2. Neutron Stars & Black Holes
2 Low-mass stars fight gravity to a standstill by becoming white dwarfs degenerate spheres of ashes left over from nuclear burning. If they gain too much mass, however, these ashes can re-ignite, producing a titanic explosion. High-mass stars may make a last stand as neutron stars degenerate spheres of neutrons. But at slightly higher masses, gravity triumphs and the result is a black hole an object with a gravitational field so strong that not even light can escape.
3 1. WHITE DWARFS AND SUPERNOVAE a. Properties of White Dwarfs b. White Dwarfs in Binary Systems c. Supernovae and Remnants
4 White Dwarfs in a Globular Cluster Hubble Space Telescope Finds Stellar Graveyard
5 The Companion of Sirius Sirius weaves in its path; has a companion (Bessel 1844) Father, Sirius is a double star! (Clark 1862). P = 50 yr, a = 19.6 au a 3 P 2 = M A + MB 3 M MA = 2 M, MB = 1 M
6 Why is the Companion So Faint? LB LA Because it s so small! DB = km < D ρb g/cm 3 The Dog Star, Sirius, and its Tiny Companion
7 Origin and Nature A white dwarf is the degenerate carbon/oxygen core left after a double-shell red giant ejects its outer layers.
8 Degeneracy Pressure Electrons are both particles and waves. The wavelength λ of an electron is h λ = m e v e Rules for electrons in a box: 1. Waves must fit evenly. 2. Each wave must be different. (Note: the same rules apply to electron orbits around nuclei.)
9 Degeneracy Pressure Electrons are both particles and waves. The wavelength λ of an electron is h λ = m e v e Rules for electrons in a box: 1. Waves must fit evenly. 2. Each wave must be different. Suppose we compress the box: all λ decrease all v increase! energy cost implies pressure
10 Sizes of White Dwarfs Planet Earth 1 M White Dwarf 1.3 M White Dwarf surface gravity: 1 G surface gravity: G surface gravity: ~ G The higher a white dwarf s mass, the smaller its radius! This trend continues to lower masses; Jupiter is about as large as degenerate objects get.
11 White Dwarf Structure Visible surface: normal gas ~50 km thick; pure H or He Interior: degenerate matter typically C/O mixture Center: degenerate matter C/O nuclei in crystal form Galaxy's Largest Diamond Star gradually crystalizes from inside out as it cools.
12 White Dwarfs in Binary Systems A white dwarf orbiting another star can become active when the other star becomes a red giant... Animation of Interacting Stars
13 Accretion Disks Mira: "Wonderful" Star Reveals its Hot Nature Because it has angular momentum, the transferred gas orbits around the dwarf, forming an accretion disk. Friction in the disk moves angular momentum outward and mass inward. The disk becomes incandescent.
14 Classical Novae H and He from the companion build up on the white dwarf s surface. When enough has accumulated, the H burns violently, producing a thermonuclear explosion. Explosions from White Dwarf Star RS Oph
15 Classical Novae: RS Ophiuci
16 Classical Novae: RS Ophiuci 16 Feb, 2006 Recurrent Nova RS Ophiuci Explosions repeat every ~20 yr; about 10% of accreted mass is retained. Current mass: MWD 1.35 M.
17 The Limits of Degeneracy c We can add electrons if they have smaller wavelengths, λ. Smaller wavelengths imply higher velocities, v. As v gets near the speed of light, velocity c, electrons behave like photons. Light (radiation) pressure makes stars unstable, so no white dwarf can weigh more than ~1.4 M. 0
18 White Dwarf Supernovae If a white dwarf s mass reaches 1.4 M, carbon ignites in its degenerate center, and a thermonuclear explosion completely destroys the star. Illustration of Mira System
19 White Dwarf Supernova Simulation 3-D Simulation of Type Ia Supernova
20 Origin of the Elements Explosion makes ~0.8 M of Fe-group elements.
21 Iron-Group Elements Most of the iron in the universe is made by white-dwarf supernovae.
22 Supernovae Compared Two different scenarios produce titanic explosions: Massive Star SN White Dwarf SN Evolved star with initial mass > 8 M. White dwarf in binary with nearby giant star. Degenerate Fe core reaches 1.4 M. Degenerate C/O star reaches 1.4 M. Gravitational collapse yields ~ 0.2 M c 2 ; Nuclear burning of C/O yields ~ M c 2. 99% escapes as neutrinos.
23 Supernovae Light Curves Ni 56 Co 56 : half-life 6 days Co 56 Fe 56 : half-life 77 days Massive-star and white-dwarf supernovae reach similar peak luminosities and fade gradually with time.
24 Supernovae Remnants Inner remnant (iron lines) Outer shock wave (hydrogen lines) X-ray Visible White-Dwarf Supernova Remnant DEM L71: Supernova Origin Revealed Debris from supernova explosions expand at thousands of km/s in all directions, slamming into interstellar gas.
25 Remnant of Tycho s Supernova (1572) supernova debris relatavistic electrons Shock velocity 3000 km/s ~ 0.01 c Tycho's Supernova Remnant Provides Shocking Evidence for Cosmic Rays Remnants accelerate cosmic rays to near light-speed.
26 The Crab Nebula (1054) The Crab Nebula from Hubble
27 The Veil Nebula The Veil Nebula Unveiled
28 2. NEUTRON STARS AND BLACK HOLES a. Neutron Stars and Pulsars b. A Brief Introduction to Black Holes
29 Nearest Known Neutron Star Hubble Sees a Neutron Star Alone in Space
30 Origin and Nature Animation of Star Collapse A neutron star is the degenerate sphere of neutrons left after the iron core of a massive star collapses.
31 Birth of a Neutron Star In the core, nuclei are smashed into protons & neutrons; the protons combine with electrons to make neutrons & neutrinos. At birth, the temperature of a neutron star is ~10 11 K, but neutrino emission cools it to only 10 6 to 10 7 K.
32 Sizes of Neutron Stars Google Maps: Oahu
33 Sizes of Neutron Stars ~20 km surface gravity: ~1011 G density: ρ 1015 g/cm3 Artist's impression of a neutron star
34 Why Are Neutron Stars So Small? White dwarfs are supported by electron degeneracy; the electron wavelength is h λ = m e v Neutron stars are supported by neutron degeneracy; the neutron wavelength is h λ = m n v Now, mn = 1840 me, so we expect neutron stars to be about 1840 (say, 2000) times smaller than white dwarfs.
35 Why Do Neutron Stars Spin So Fast? Conservation of angular momentum: before collapsing, the star s core probably rotates once every few hours. Collapse by a factor of x decreases the rotation period by a factor of x 2. The core collapses by roughly a factor of 1000, so it spins about = 10 6 times more often. Final rotation period is a few hundredth s of a second!
36 Pulsars A pulsar is a spinning neutron star with a magnetic field tilted at an angle to its rotation axis.
37 Pulsars Particles accelerated by the spinning field create two beams of radiation aligned with the magnetic axis. As the pulsar turns, these beams sweep through space.
38 Discovery of Pulsars Using a radio telescope in 1967, Jocelyn Bell noticed very regular pulses of radio emission coming from a single part of the sky. The pulses were coming from a spinning neutron star a pulsar. Copyright 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.
39 As Small As Why Pulsars Must Be Neutron Stars Circumference of Neutron Star = 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 Anything else would be torn to pieces! Copyright 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.
40 The Crab Nebula Pulsar The Crab Nebula from Hubble
41 The Crab Nebula Pulsar The Crab Nebula and Pulsar Crab Nebula: a Dead Star Creates Celestial Havoc
42 Neutron Stars in Binary Systems
43 X-Ray Bursts Matter accreting onto a neutron star can eventually become hot enough for helium to fuse. The sudden onset of fusion produces a burst of X rays. Copyright 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.
44 cvelocity Degeneracy s Limits, Again! Just as with white dwarfs, there s a maximum allowed mass for a neutron star, roughly 3 M. A neutron star which somehow gains more mass presumably collapses to form a black hole. 0
45 A Brief Introduction to Black Holes Black Hole Images
46 A Brief Introduction to Black Holes A black hole is an object with a gravitational field so strong that not even light can escape. Black Hole Images
47 Thought Question What happens to the escape velocity from an object if you shrink it? A. It increases. B. It decreases. C. It stays the same. Hint: Copyright 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.
48 Escape Velocity initial kinetic energy = final gravitational potential energy (escape velocity) 2 = G (mass) 2 (radius) Copyright 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.
49 The Schwarzschild Radius Let s insert the speed of light, c, into the escape-velocity equation: c 2 G M 2 = R The result is a relationship between the mass, M, and radius, R, of a black hole. Solving for R, we get R = 2 G M c 2 R is called the Schwarzschild Radius. Any object of mass M becomes a black hole if its radius is less than or equal to than R, because light is unable to escape.
50 Sizes of Black Holes 18 km M = 3 M Google Maps: Oahu
51 A black hole s mass strongly warps space and time in the vicinity of the event horizon. Note: event horizon is another term for the Schwarzschild Radius. These diagrams show how space becomes warped near a massive object or black hole. Copyright 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.
52 No Escape Nothing can escape from within the event horizon because nothing can go faster than light. No escape means there is no more contact with something that falls in. It increases the hole s mass, changes its spin or charge, but otherwise loses its identity. Copyright 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.
53 Singularity 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. Copyright 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.
54 Evidence for Black Holes Black Holes Are Black Some X-ray sources are unusually faint evidence that accreting matter falls into a black hole instead of falling onto a neutron star.
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