When a nova gets matter, the outcome is that it may lose more matter because of eruptions. Only some kind of nova's masses can increase stably.

A white dwarf may become a supernova after it exceeds the Chandrasekhar limit, and we study that much. A neutron star can get mass too, why do not we talk about their end much?

How about a neutron star when it gets matter from accretion? It is necessary that its mass will increase?
When will it collapse?

  • $\begingroup$ by "Nova gets matter", do you mean a white dwarf, where, as it adds mass, usually from a near-by star, it can reach the Chandrasekhar limit? As a Neutron star adds mass it continues to get more dense and there is a point where it likely turns into a black hole. I don't think the event has ever been observed though. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… I suspect it's a smaller explosion than the white dwarf cause there's no influx of fusion energy. $\endgroup$
    – userLTK
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 2:04
  • $\begingroup$ kind of related. The 2nd comment explains what happens to matter as it falls into a Neutron Star. astronomy.stackexchange.com/questions/1676/… $\endgroup$
    – userLTK
    Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 23:19

2 Answers 2


The neutron stars have about 1.1 to 3 solar masses. If the neutron star accretes mass, its mass will increase and once it crosses the Tolman–Oppenheimer–Volkoff limit, the star will collapse to form a black hole.

On way of this happening is in the case where one of the binary stars becomes a neutron star as in X-ray pulsars. The neutron star receives gas supply from its companion, which increases its mass,for example CenX3.

Swift J1749

Source: nasa.gov

Though this method could lead tothe formation of black hole, no observational evidence exists as of today.


A nova is generally understood as an explosion of a star. Thus comparing a nova to a stable neutron star is kind of a nonsensical thing to do.

If you're asking if a star goes nova and the core that remains is a neutron star after the resulting explosion, will it's mass increase overall? The answer is no, since it loses a lot of mass in the process of going nova. However, it is now more dense than before and the concentration of matter is in a much smaller space (the neutron star). (The explosion compresses part of the star and pushes the rest of it outward off into space).

If you're asking if a neutron star's mass will increase if you throw matter at it, the answer is yes. Just like any other form of matter. Is there a limit to how bit you can increase it? No; however, past a certain density it will compress into a black hole (which do not have a size limit as far as we know).

You may want to edit your question to clarify what you mean.

  • $\begingroup$ A Nova is not the explosion of a star, it is an explosion on a star. $\endgroup$
    – ProfRob
    Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Rob Jefferies Thanks, you'r right I'm treating it like a supernova. I'll edit my answer later. $\endgroup$
    – Futuza
    Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 2:12

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