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Neutron Stars

The Exotic Universe, Neutron Stars. What are they? How are they formed? What are they made of? What happens if they collide?

Shervyn Singh

on 8 July 2013

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Transcript of Neutron Stars

The Exotic Universe
What is a 'NEUTRON STAR?'
Neutron Star
is the stellar remnant of a massive star which undergoes gravitational collapse during a supernova event at the end of its life.

It is one of the possible evolutionary endpoints of high-mass stars.
Neutron stars cram roughly
1.5 - 5.0 solar masses
into a city sized sphere around
20km in diameter
Matter is packed so tightly that a sugar-cubed size amount of material from a neutron star would weigh more than
1 billion tonnes.
Formation of a Neutron Star
These stars are formed when a star of 1.5 - 5.0 solar masses; ceases to generate sufficient energy from nuclear fusion
Parent Star <1.5 solar masses
Parent Star >5.0 solar masses
White Dwarf
Black Hole
After a star goes 'nova,' the remaining core
and the outer layers are blasted off into space creating a nebula.
Gravity acts on the matter and condenses the core into a relatively small sphere. Under ordinary classical mechanics, this would
not be possible.
Atoms are mostly space due to Electromagnetic forces acting within.

Mass begins to pile on from the extremely strong gravitational pull, and as a result the density increases significantly.

Once the star's fuel is spent, and it stops burning, there is no heat force counteracting the increasing force of gravity and the material left collapses on itself.
Nuclear energy pushing outwards
Gravity pushes in on the star, making it collapse when nuclear energy output does not cancel out its effect
Structure of a Neutron Star

The Surface/Crust
is extremely hard and smooth due to extreme gravitational fields. The surface is thought to be composed of ordinary atomic nuclei crushed into a solid lattice.

Moving in, nuclei with ever increasing numbers of neutrons can be seen. Such nuclei would decay on Earth, but are kept stable by the tremendous pressure present. As this process continues at increasing depths, concentration of free neutrons increases rapidly. In this region, there are nuclei, free electrons and free protons. The nuclei becomes increasingly small until the core is reached, which is theorised to be the point where
individual atoms disappear altogether.
At this point, the composition of the superdense matter in the core remains unknown.

One model describes the core as super fluid neutron-degenerate matter. More exotic forms includes degenerate-strange matter and ultra-dense quark-degenerate matter.
When two Neutron Stars orbit each other closely, their gravitational pull brings them together as time passes. Once the two Neutron Stars meet, their collision leads to the formation of a black hole. This creates a magnetic field that is trillions of times stronger than that of Earth; in a matter of one or two milliseconds.
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