Progress has been made in the study of the dynamic evolution of fragments during the partial collapse of the planet

Tidal collapse can explain many transient phenomena in astrophysics. In the case of different system parameters and the chemical composition of the disintegrated celestial body, the interaction of the material generated during the disintegration process with the central celestial body can produce various bursts in the X-ray, optical, and even radio bands. At present, the research on the dynamic evolution of fragments under the condition of partial planetary collapse is still blank, which is of great significance for in-depth study and understanding of the origin and mechanism of repeated burst radiation.

Recently, Abdushattar Kurban, a researcher in the pulsar research group of Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory, and his collaborators used gravitational perturbation theory to study the dynamic evolution characteristics of fragments after the partial collapse of planets around neutron stars, which provided important clues for in-depth study of the origin and mechanism of repeated bursts. The research results have been officially published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS, 2023, 522, 4265-4274).

The distance between the central object and the planet determines whether the disintegrated object is completely or partially disintegrated. When rocky planets partially disintegrate, their mass loss is very small, the change in the orbit of the protoplanet is negligible, and the resulting debris is moving in different elliptical orbits, and these debris and protoplanets and neutron stars can be regarded as many-body systems. Assuming that the interaction between the debris can be ignored, a single fragment, the protoplanet and the neutron star can be regarded as a simple three-body system, in which the gravitational perturbation of the protoplanet is a non-negligible factor and dominates the debris evolution process, comparing the angular momentum evolution time scale of the fragment and the orbital period evolution relationship of the fragment itself (see Figure 1), under the gravitational disturbance of the protoplanet, the fragments in the innermost orbit (close to the neutron star) will lose angular momentum in a short time, and thus be captured by the neutron star and fall to its surface, producing burst radiation. Planetary structure and its orbital parameters are key parameters that affect the tidal collapse of planets.

Figure 1: Curve of the orbital period (solid line) of the debris in the innermost orbit and its angular momentum (dashed line) as a function of planetary mass in the case of partial tidal collapse. Submap (a) is a planet Fe and submap (b) is a planet MgSiO3. The red, blue and green lines correspond to planetary orbital periods of 10, 100 and 1,000 days, respectively.

The results of this study provide a theoretical basis for the repeated bursting phenomenon caused by multiple collisions between debris and neutron stars. Researchers will delve into other astrophysical phenomena that may arise from the interaction of debris with neutron stars. (Source: Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences)

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