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4 November 2020 at 8:33 pm #583339
Dr Paul Leyland
Three possibilities immediately spring to mind, two of which require that the neutron star is on the very brink of collapse anyway.
1) Accretion from the remainder of its earlier circum-stellar planets, dust and gas tip it over the mass limit protecting it from collapse.
2) Its rotational period slows down to the point where centrifugal force no longer keeps its equator far enough away.
3) Merger with an orbiting star tips it over the mass limit.
There could well be other explanations. I do not know enough about the equation of state of neutron-rich matter (who does?) to be able to decide whether cooling (for instance) could also cause a transition.