Hi all.
I've been trying to calculate how much energy would be released from dropping things onto the surface of a neutron star from certain heights. I'm using...
[math]\Delta E = GMm (\frac{1}{r_2} - \frac{1}{r_1})[/math]
To calculate the potential energy that could be released. Where G is the gravitational constant, M is the mass of the neutron star, m is the mass of the falling object, r2 is the radius of the neutron star plus the height and r1 is the radius of the neutron star. Phew!
Would this be the correct formulation to use here? I don't know if I would need to take relativistic effects into account here (and I wouldn't know where to start with that, so advice would also be welcome). Are there any other factors I need to consider here? What proportion of that potential energy would realistically be released from such a collision?
I'm trying to get back into practising using mathematics and physics in practice, I'm feeling seriously rusty. I also recall hearing something along the lines of "dropping a marshmallow onto the surface of the neutron star releases as much energy as an atomic bomb" and I wanted to put that claim to the test.
I think this is the correct forum, but if not I would appreciate it if the thread could be moved.
Thanks!