Journal Article

Recycling of neutron stars in common envelopes and hypernova explosions

Maxim V. Barkov and Serguei S. Komissarov

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 415, issue 1, pages 944-958
Published in print July 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Recycling of neutron stars in common envelopes and hypernova explosions

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In this paper, we propose a new plausible mechanism of supernova explosions specific to close binary systems. The starting point is the common envelope phase in the evolution of a binary consisting of a red supergiant and a neutron star. As the neutron star spirals towards the centre of its companion it spins up via disc accretion. Depending on the specific angular momentum of the gas captured by the neutron star via the Bondi–Hoyle mechanism, it may reach millisecond periods either when it is still inside the common envelope or after it has merged with the companion core. The high accretion rate may result in the strong differential rotation of the neutron star and generation of the magnetar-strength magnetic field. The magnetar wind can blow away the common envelope if its magnetic field is as strong as 1015 G and can destroy the entire companion if it is as strong as 1016 G. The total explosion energy can be comparable to the rotational energy of a millisecond pulsar and reach 1052 erg. However, only a small amount of 56Ni is expected to be produced this way. The result is an unusual Type II supernova with very high luminosity during the plateau phase, followed by a sharp drop in brightness and a steep light-curve tail. The remnant is either a solitary magnetar or a close binary involving a Wolf–Rayet star and a magnetar. When this Wolf–Rayet star explodes, it will be a third supernova explosion in the same binary.

Keywords: stars: magnetars; stars: neutron; supernovae: general

Journal Article.  11043 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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