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Ejecta from neutron-star coalescences

  1. Apr 10, 2008 #1
    I gather at least some gamma-ray bursters are the result of neutron-star coalescence, when a neutron star binary radiates gravitational waves, losing energy till the stars fuse.

    In many cases the result will be a black hole, but before this forms there should be some ejecta; in principle this could be examined spectroscopically in the afterglow of such events.

    Because neutron-stars are by definition neutron-rich, I have often wondered whether the ejecta might include superheavy elements, whose most stable isotopes must be far more neutron-rich than familiar nuclei. They may not form in supernovae because of the extreme fissionability of fermium and immediately succeeding elements (see my comments on superheavy elements in nuclear physics forum). If long-lived superheavies are ever formed, perhaps more likely 'top-down' from already neutron-rich matter than 'bottom-up' in supernovae. As neutron-star coalescence is very rare, this would explain rarity of long-lived superheavies, should they exist at all.
  2. jcsd
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