What Sets the Maximum Spin Rate of Neutron Stars?
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Neutron stars are observed to rotate as fast as 716 Hz. Astrophysicists believe that they are spun-up by accretion of matter and angular momentum in binary star systems. However, the “r-mode'' instability of rotating neutron stars, which is driven by gravitational radiation reaction, appears to prevent spin up via accretion to rotation frequencies above about 350 Hz.