A Few Facts about Neutron Stars

Our universe is a vast realm with much of it still unexplored. With all our technology and science today, we have not been able to map out the universe entirely. The universe is expansive with billions and trillions of stars, planets, and galaxies. Since there are so many different types of stars and planets, understand […]

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July 6, 2020

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Our universe is a vast realm with much of it still unexplored. With all our technology and science today, we have not been able to map out the universe entirely. The universe is expansive with billions and trillions of stars, planets, and galaxies. Since there are so many different types of stars and planets, understand all of them is perhaps beyond the reach of humanity. Humans however, are curious species and tend to understand the reality of everything, including stars.

Over many decades and centuries, astrology has remained as one of the most sought after subjects. During the earlier civilizations, stars were commonly used to navigate around the earth. Many religions have religious affiliation to the stars and we certainly have a lot of folklore in the ancient civilizations about our ancestors descending from the stars. However, when it comes to facts, science prevails. While there are billions and trillions of stars out there, which we are not able to study entirely, science does understand many of them.

Neutron Stars

One of most interesting stars are neutron stars. Neutron stars can be called leftover stars when bigger and massive stars drain their fuel. When a giant star loses its life, it compresses itself. The compression is highly intensive. The high compression creates a comparatively very small, but very dense mass. The electrons and protons are broken down and compressed together, creating a neutron star. A neutron star has a highly dense mass made up of neutrons. These neutron stars can either become pulsars or magnetars.

Pulsars release pulses of radiation at regular intervals from their poles. The pulses are strong beams of light that can only be seen when it is pointing directly at you. The star keeps rotating, making it difficult to point the beam in a single position. The nearest neutron star is located in in the southern constellation Corona Australis, approximately 200 light years away. The star is expected  to swing by the earth in about 300,000 years. The distance between the star and earth when it swings by will be 170 light years away. Neutron star mass is highly dense due to the compression. The compression is about a thousand times. Therefore, neutron star gravity is also very strong compared to earth. Magnetars, another form of neutron stars are recorded to have a magnetic field that is 1000 times stronger than earth’s.

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