Neutron Star’s Kinder Surprise

in GEMSlast month

It is unbelievable but some astrophysicists think about stellar parasites. But in the end, why not as according to a new study part of the dark matter of the Universe could be hiding in parasitical black holes inside of neutron stars.


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Image by Nidhi Yashwanth from Pixabay

One of the possible candidates for the still-mysterious dark matter are primordial black holes. These could have perhaps existed since the dawn of the Universe, and if there was enough of them, they could have created the effect we accredit to dark matter. Scientists are searching for them but so far with no success. Actually, they are one of the candidates we have almost given up on. But not all “dark matter” black holes have to be primordial.

Stuart Shapiro from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his colleagues came with the idea that dark matter could be connected with a population of black holes that might be hiding inside of neutron stars eating them from the inside like some astrophysical parasites.

There are two possible scenarios for parasitic black holes. The first claims these are primordial black holes that somehow entered neutron stars. The other scenario suggests that under certain conditions the matter inside of neutron stars could collapse into small black holes. And then there’s also a third theory – the study’s authors theory – that suggests dark matter particles could enter the neutron star and there collapse into a black hole.

In the end, a black hole should eat the neutron star from the inside. And we have no real idea whether systems with parasitical black holes inside of neutron stars truly exist. But that didn’t stop Shapiro and his coworkers from calculating how long it should take. They modeled different-sized black holes from three times less massive than the mass of the neutron star to a mass nine orders smaller. And as neutron stars can reach up to the mass of 2.3 Suns these were some dwarf-planet-sized black holes.

So, what did their calculations show? For a non-rotating neutron star that was being eaten up by a non-rotating black hole, the feast would have a shape of a ball. Even a very small black hole with a mass of 10 to the power of -21 should completely eat up a neutron star in a time shorter than the current age of the Universe. And since we do know of populations of ancient neutron stars this almost gets rid of the scenario of primordial parasitic black holes. But it still does leave the possibility of later created black holes parasiting on neutron stars.

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