Friday, October 29, 2010

Monster Neutron Star Discovered

The neutron star is on of the weirder characters in the cast of players making up the universe. A structure whos' very matter masses millions of tons per cubic centimeter. Its' very nature so extreme as to be more science fiction than science. Created during the collapse of an equally spectacular event a star's last hurrah - a super-nova. Most super-nova events are thought to end in the creation of a black hole. But if the mass is just short of what is needed then the collapse stops at that strange quasi matter of a neutron star.

In a neutron star there are no protons and no electrons. All the space is crushed out of the atoms pushing the neutrons and electrons together making neutrons. A whole star's worth of neutrons. But the creation of the neutron star is a knife edge balancing act. Most have masses that are equal to 1.3 to an upper limit of 1 and a half solar masses all compressed into sphere probably no larger than 20 miles across. At least that was what was thought to be the limits until just recently.

Astronomers using the National Science Foundation's Green Bank Telescope, have discovered a neutron star of 2 solar masses. This discovery means that a great deal of what was thought to be understood about neutron stars has to be rethought or abandoned completely as well as having implications of science's understanding of all matter at extremely high densities and many details of nuclear physics.

Read complete article from The Daily Galaxy here

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