Neutron stars

Neutron stars are awesome, and here are lots of reasons why

Small but mighty, neutron stars pack unbelievable mass into a tiny space – and that’s just part of what makes them awesome.

Planet Earth is quite heavy. It weighs 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kilograms, give or take. In astronomical terms, though, Earth is a featherweight.

Imagine taking half-a-million Earths, and squishing them together into a space about 10 kilometres across. Such compact and absurdly heavy objects do exist out there in space.

Neutron stars are the smallest, densest objects known to science. Neutron stars are the collapsed cores of stars that have exploded in violent supernovae. They are among the most extreme, fascinating, and potentially useful astronomical objects out there – and it is believed there are 100 million of them in our galaxy alone.

To commemorate the 50th year of the discovery of neutron stars, here is some light reading (and some viewing, thanks to neutron star expert Victoria Kaspi) about these preposterously heavy things.

supernova neutron

pulsars name

Watch: Victoria Kaspi and the lifetime of a pulsar

Zwicky

bell burnell

neutron star facts

neutron star mass

ligo neutron stars

Watch: The Pulsar Timing Array

cassiopia

neutron stars pasta

lighthouse neutron star

Listen: What does a neutron star sound like?

neutron star facts

fastest pulsar

Watch: More fascinating facts from Victoria Kaspi

Watch Victoria Kaspi’s full talk, “The Cosmic Gift of Neutron Stars” 

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