No announcement yet.

Neutron Stars

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Neutron Stars

    Here is a very interesting article about neutron stars

    Neutron stars have earned their share of superlatives since their discovery in 1967.

    Illustration by Corinne Mucha

    Five extreme facts about neutron stars


    By Ali Sundermier

    Neutron stars have earned their share of superlatives since their discovery in 1967.As a massive star dies, expelling most of its guts across the universe in a supernova explosion, its iron heart, the star’s core, collapses to create the densest form of observable matter in the universe: a neutron star.

    A neutron star is basically a giant nucleus, says Mark Alford, a professor at Washington University.

    “Imagine a little lead pellet with cotton candy around it,” Alford says. “That’s an atom. All the of mass is in the little lead pellet in the middle, and there’s this big puffy cloud of electrons around it like cotton candy.”

    In neutron stars, the atoms have all collapsed. The electron clouds have all been sucked in, and the whole thing becomes a single entity with electrons running around side-by-side with protons and neutrons in a gas or fluid.

    Neutron stars are pretty small, as far as stellar objects go. Although scientists are still working on pinning down their exact diameter, they estimate that they’re somewhere around 12 to 17 miles across, just about the length of Manhattan. Despite that, they have about 1.5 times the mass of our sun.

    If a neutron star were any denser, it would collapse into a black hole and disappear, Alford says. “It’s the next to last stop on the line.”

    These extreme objects offer intriguing test cases that could help physicists understand the fundamental forces, general relativity and the early universe. Here are some fascinating facts to get you acquainted:
    Inline 1: Five extreme facts about neutron stars
    Illustration by Corinne Mucha

    1. In just the first few seconds after a star begins its transformation into a neutron star, the energy leaving in neutrinos is equal to the total amount of light emitted by all of the stars in the observable universe.

    Ordinary matter contains roughly equal numbers of protons and neutrons. But most of the protons in a neutron star convert into neutrons—neutron stars are made up of about 95 percent neutrons. When protons convert to neutrons, they release ubiquitous particles called neutrinos.

    Neutron stars are made in supernova explosions which are giant neutrino factories. A supernova radiates 10 times more neutrinos than there are particles, protons, neutrons and electrons in the sun.
    Inline 2: Five extreme facts about neutron stars
    Illustration by Corinne Mucha

    2. It’s been speculated that if there were life on neutron stars, it would be two-dimensional.

    Neutron stars have some of the strongest gravitational and magnetic fields in the universe. The gravity is strong enough to flatten almost anything on the surface. The magnetic fields of neutron stars can be a billion times to a million billion times the magnetic field on the surface of Earth.

    “Everything about neutron stars is extreme,” says James Lattimer, a professor at Stony Brook University. “It goes to the point of almost being ridiculous.”

    Because they’re so dense, neutron stars provide the perfect testbed for the strong force, allowing scientists to probe the way quarks and gluons interact under these conditions. Many theories predict that the core of a neutron star compresses neutrons and protons, liberating the quarks of which they are constructed. Scientists have created a hotter version of this freed “quark matter” in the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider and the Large Hadron Collider.

    The intense gravity of neutron stars requires scientists to use the general theory of relativity to describe the physical properties of neutron stars. In fact, measurements of neutron stars give us some of the most precise tests of general relativity that we currently have.

    Despite their incredible densities and extreme gravity, neutron stars still manage to maintain a surprising amount of internal structure, housing crusts, oceans and atmospheres. “They’re a weird mixture of something the mass of a star with some of the other properties of a planet,” says Chuck Horowitz, a professor at Indiana University.

    But while here on Earth we’re used to having an atmosphere that extends hundreds of miles into the sky, because a neutron star’s gravity is so extreme, its atmosphere may stretch up less than a foot.
    Inline 3: Five extreme facts about neutron stars
    Illustration by Corinne Mucha

    3. The fastest known spinning neutron star rotates about 700 times each second.

    Scientists believe that most neutron stars either currently are or at one point have been pulsars, stars that spit out beams of radio waves as they rapidly spin. If a pulsar is pointed toward our planet, we see these beams sweep across Earth like light from a lighthouse.

    Scientists first observed neutron stars in 1967, when a graduate student named Jocelyn Bell noticed repeated radio pulses arriving from a pulsar outside our solar system. (The 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics went to her thesis advisor, Anthony Hewish, for the discovery.)

    Pulsars can spin anywhere from tens to hundreds of times per second. If you were standing on the equator of the fastest known pulsar, the rotational velocity would be about 1/10 the speed of light.

    The 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics went to scientists who measured the rate at which a pair of neutron stars orbiting each other were spiraling together due to the emission of gravitational radiation, a phenomenon predicted by Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity.

    Scientists from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, announced in 2016 that they had directly detected gravitational waves for the first time. In the future, it might be possible to use pulsars as giant, scaled-up versions of the LIGO experiment, trying to detect the small changes in the distance between the pulsars and Earth as a gravitational wave passes by.
    Inline 4: Five extreme facts about neutron stars
    Illustration by Sandbox Studio, Chicago

    4. The wrong kind of neutron star could wreak havoc on Earth.

    Neutron stars can be dangerous because of their strong fields. If a neutron star entered our solar system, it could cause chaos, throwing off the orbits of the planets and, if it got close enough, even raising tides that would rip the planet apart.

    But the closest known neutron star is about 500 light-years away. And considering Proxima Centauri, the closest star to Earth at a little over 4 light-years away, has no bearing on our planet, it’s unlikely we’ll feel these catastrophic effects anytime soon.

    Probably even more dangerous would be radiation from a neutron star’s magnetic field. Magnetars are neutron stars with magnetic fields a thousand times stronger than the extremely strong fields of “normal” pulsars. Sudden rearrangements of these fields can produce flares somewhat like solar flares but much more powerful.

    On December 27, 2004, scientists observed a giant gamma-ray flare from Magnetar SGR 1806-20, estimated to be about 50,000 light years away. In 0.2 seconds the flare radiated as much energy as the sun produces in 300,000 years. The flare saturated many spacecraft detectors and produced detectable disturbances in the Earth’s ionosphere.

    Fortunately, we are not aware of any nearby magnetars powerful enough to cause any damage.
    Inline 5: Five extreme facts about neutron stars
    Illustration by Corinne Mucha

    ​​​​​​​5. Despite the extremes of neutron stars, researchers still have ways to study them.

    There are many things we don’t know about neutron stars—including just how many of them are out there, Horowitz says. “We know of about 2000 neutron stars in our own galaxy, but we expect there to be billions more. So most neutron stars, even in our own galaxy, are completely unknown.”

    Many radio, X-ray and optical light telescopes are used to investigate the properties of neutron stars. NASA’s upcoming Neutron Star Interior Composition ExploreR Mission (NICER), which is scheduled to attach to the side of the International Space Station in 2017, is one mission devoted to learning more about these extreme objects. NICER will look at X-rays coming from rotating neutron stars to try to more accurately pin down their mass and radii.

    We could also study neutron stars by detecting gravitational waves. LIGO scientists hope to detect gravitational waves produced by the merger of two neutron stars. Studying those gravitational waves might clue scientists in to the properties of the extremely dense matter that neutron stars are made of.

    Studying neutron stars might help us figure out the origin of the heavy chemical elements, including gold and platinum, in our universe. There’s a possibility that when neutron stars collide, not everything gets swallowed up into a more massive neutron star or black hole, but instead some fraction gets flung out and forms these heavy nuclei.

    “If you want to use the lab of 24th or 25th century,” says Roger Romani, a professor at Stanford University, “then studying neutron stars is a way of looking at conditions that we cannot produce in labs on Earth.”

  • #2
    Neutron stars and black holes seem like a terrible thing that causes death. BUT we know that God put them in His creation, so we know that they are good:
    Genesis 1
    New International Version (NIV)

    The Beginning

    1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

    3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

    6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God calledthe vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

    9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place,and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

    11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

    14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

    20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God createdthe great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

    24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

    26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

    27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

    28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

    29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

    31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
    We see that God called this all good. We had to have supernovas and neutron stars to form heavy elements. There would be no life without these heavy elements.

    Some supernovas form neutron stars and others form black holes. So black holes and neutron stars are both necessary for life.

    There are many tribulations here on earth that we do not like. Some think them to be evil. BUT without tribulations we would not become like Him.

    John 16:33
    “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

    Revelation 7:14
    I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

    Romans 5New International Version (NIV)

    Peace and Hope

    5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And weboast in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

    Romans 12
    12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

    14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

    How else can we mourn with those who mourn, unless we have already mourned. These tribulations keep us from dying of pride, or being conceited.

    NOTICE also that we are not to seek black holes and neutron stars. If we get too close we will die. God decided where these things were and how far away or how close to us they should be.

    The same is true for tribulations. We are not to seek tribulation, but let God decide when and where they shall come to our life.

    But also not to think it strange when tribulation comes into our life.

    Lou Newton
    Last edited by Lou Newton; January 25, 2017, 10:00 PM.


    • #3
      Great comparison Lou, I will try to embrace what I have to go through.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Steve Hollander View Post
        Great comparison Lou, I will try to embrace what I have to go through.
        Well you may have company Steve. My landlord rented the apartment below me to a woman who smokes and I found out yesterday she also has a cat. Cats make me deathly sick. I was getting a sore throat and a cough and did not know why. Now I know.

        I do not know what I am going to do. I am getting sicker by the day and do not know how I will find another place that I can afford, yet alone move my stuff while I am sick.

        No one likes tribulation.


        • #5
          Im sorry for your troubles brother. I will be praying for you Lou. You are in a very difficult situation that requires prayer and fasting. I will be praying for you Lou.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Steve Hollander View Post
            Im sorry for your troubles brother. I will be praying for you Lou. You are in a very difficult situation that requires prayer and fasting. I will be praying for you Lou.
            Thanks Steve for the prayer, I really do need it.

            It really helped, for I could not sleep because when I laid down it made me go into a coughing fit. Well I just got up from a nap that I got some really good sleep. Words can not express how good that felt and how thankful I am to get some sleep.

            Thanks again Steve, and thank you Lord Jesus.


            • #7
              Prais God for His mercy and love He shows us, His children.