Overnight Open Thread (16 Feb 2013) | Main | Sunday Morning Open Thread
February 16, 2013

Late Night Question: How Can You (Externally) Blow Up A Star?

We now know black holes can form from neutron star collisions, and we know that some super-massive stars are probably formed by the collision of smaller stars. So even a good sized star merging with another doesn't usually spell doom. However, all super-massive stars have a short life, the more massive, the shorter. Once iron builds up in its core, the star is doomed. Neutron stars, already tightly packed matter, are highly unstable when inter-acting with other high-mass objects (see the aforementioned merger).


Betelgeuse (the bright orange star in Orion), refusing to just blow up already.

So tonight's question:
If you somehow managed to slingshot a neutron star OR >1.4 solar-mass of pure solid iron right into a supermassive star that has already gone through it's Hydrogen->Helium->Carbon->Neon->Oxygen->Silicon phases, have you become death the destroyer of worlds? Or is your attempt at a real Death Star a dud?

Let's ignore the extreme unlikelihood of actually "capturing" and hurling such a neutron star or ball of iron. If you had the means, would it detonate the star?

If this wouldn't, what could you use?


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posted by CAC at 11:02 PM

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