Heaviest Neutron Star Ever Observed And More Info

The heaviest neutron star yet seen has grown as a result of a dense, collapsed star tearing apart and consuming virtually all of its stellar companion’s mass. One of the Milky Way galaxy’s fastest-spinning neutron stars, it rotates 707 times every second. Astronomers can better comprehend the strange quantum state of matter within these incredibly compact objects by weighing the record-breaking neutron star, which tops the charts at 2.35 solar masses (our sun’s mass). If they are significantly heavier than that, neutron stars completely disintegrate and turn into black holes.

In the nucleus of a uranium atom, for example, “we know basically how matter behaves at nuclear concentrations,” said Alex Filippenko, Distinguished Professor of Astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley. “A neutron star is like one huge nucleus, but it’s not at all apparent how they would behave when you have one and a half solar masses of this stuff, which is around 500,000 Earth masses of nuclei all clinging together.”

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Professor of astrophysics at Stanford University Roger W. Romani claims that neutron stars are extraordinarily dense, with one cubic inch weighing more than 10 billion tonnes. This means that, aside from black holes, which are inaccessible for research due to their location behind their event horizon, their cores are the densest regions of matter in the universe. As a result, the neutron star, also known as pulsar PSR J0952-0607, is the densest object visible from Earth.

The heaviest neutron star yet seen has grown as a result of a dense, collapsed star tearing apart and consuming virtually all of its stellar companion’s mass. One of the Milky Way galaxy’s fastest-spinning neutron stars, it rotates 707 times every second. Astronomers can better comprehend the strange quantum state of matter within these incredibly compact objects by weighing the record-breaking neutron star, which tops the charts at 2.35 solar masses (our sun’s mass). If they are significantly heavier than that, neutron stars completely disintegrate and turn into black holes.

In the nucleus of a uranium atom, for example, “we know basically how matter behaves at nuclear concentrations,” said Alex Filippenko, Distinguished Professor of Astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley. “A neutron star is like one huge nucleus, but it’s not at all apparent how they would behave when you have one and a half solar masses of this stuff, which is around 500,000 Earth masses of nuclei all clinging together.”

Professor of astrophysics at Stanford University Roger W. Romani claims that neutron stars are extraordinarily dense, with one cubic inch weighing more than 10 billion tonnes. This means that, aside from black holes, which are inaccessible for research due to their location behind their event horizon, their cores are the densest regions of matter in the universe. As a result, the neutron star, also known as pulsar PSR J0952-0607, is the densest object visible from Earth.

The 10-meter Keck I telescope on Maunakea in Hawaii’s exceptional sensitivity allowed for the measurement of the neutron star’s mass. It captured the visible light spectrum coming from the once-hotly blazing companion star, which has since shrunk to the size of a sizable gas planet. The stars are around 3,000 light-years away from Earth, in the direction of the constellation Sextans.

PSR J0952-0607, discovered in 2017, is known as a “black widow” pulsar. Their name refers to a female black widow spider’s propensity to eat the much tiny male after mating. Filippenko and Romani have been researching black widow systems for more than a decade in an effort to determine the maximum size that neutron stars/pulsars can develop to.

We demonstrate that neutron stars must attain at least this mass, 2.35 plus or minus 0.17 solar masses, by combining this measurement with those of several other black widows, said Romani, a professor of physics in Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences and a member of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology. This, in turn, offers some of the strongest limitations on the characteristics of matter at densities several times greater than those seen in atomic nuclei. In fact, this discovery excludes a number of dense-matter physics models that were previously widely used.

The interior of a neutron star is likely to be made up of neutrons and up and down quarks, the building blocks of standard protons and neutrons, but not exotic matter like “strange” quarks or kaons, which are particles that contain a strange quark, if 2.35 solar masses is close to the upper limit of neutron stars, according to the astronomers.

According to Romani, neutron stars with high maximum masses are made up of a mixture of nuclei and their dissolved up and down quarks all the way to the core. This rule disqualifies a number of suggested states of matter, particularly those having unusual internal compositions. Co-authors of an article outlining the team’s findings include Romani, Filippenko, and Stanford graduate student Dinesh Kandel. It was released in The Astrophysical Journal Letters today, July 26, 2022.

How big can they become?

Most astrophysicists concur that when a star with a core mass greater than 1.4 solar masses collapses at the end of its life, it creates a dense, compact object whose interior is under such intense pressure that all atoms are crushed together to create a sea of neutrons and their subnuclear byproducts, quarks. These neutron stars are born spinning and, despite being too faint to be seen in visible light, reveal themselves as pulsars by flashing Earth with radio waves, X-rays, or even gamma rays as they rotate. This behaviour is similar to a lighthouse rotating its beam.

The typical speed of “ordinary” pulsars is roughly once per second, which is easily explained given the star’s usual rotation before it collapses. It is difficult to explain why some pulsars repeat hundreds or even 1,000 times per second unless stuff has dropped onto the neutron star and spun it up. However, no companion may be seen for some millisecond pulsars.

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