EDP Sciences
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Volume 381, Number 1, January I 2002
Page(s) L21 - L24
Section Letters
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20011555

A&A 381, L21-L24 (2002)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20011555


Marginally stable orbits around Maclaurin spheroids and low-mass quark stars

P. Amsterdamski1, T. Bulik2, D. Gondek-Rosinska3, 2 and W. Kluzniak1, 4

1  Institute of Astronomy, Zielona Góra University, ul. Lubuska 2, 65265 Zielona Góra, Poland
2  Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center, ul. Bartycka 18, 00716 Warszawa, Poland
3  Département d'Astrophysique Relativiste et de Cosmologie UMR 8629 du CNRS, Observatoire de Paris, 92195 Meudon Cedex, France
4  NORDITA, 17 Blegdamsvej, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

(Received 18 October 2001 / Accepted 8 November 2001)

When the eccentricity of a Maclaurin spheroid exceeds a critical value ( e>0.83458318), circular orbits in the equatorial plane are unstable for a range of orbital radii outside the stellar surface - this is a purely Newtonian effect related to the oblateness of the star. The orbital frequency in the marginally stable orbit, and all other orbits, around Maclaurin spheroids goes to zero in the limit e=1. The orbital and rotational frequencies in exact relativistic numerical models of rotating, axially symmetric, quark stars of very low mass ( $M\le 0.1~M_\odot$) coincide with those for Maclaurin spheroids. It is impossible to determine the mass of a rapidly rotating quark star by measuring the maximum orbital frequency alone.

Key words: dense matter -- equation of state -- stars: neutron -- stars: binaries: general -- X-rays: stars

Offprint request: W. Kluzniak, wlodek@camk.edu.pl

© ESO 2002