Neutron stars

What are Neutron stars and how they form

Neutron stars are formed when a massive star (generally four to eight time of our sun) explode in a violent supernova. After such an explosion star’s outer layer blown off leaving behind a massive core. The core of the star completely burned to iron, so it is no longer able to produce energy from nuclear fusion. In the absence of outward pressure from the fusion process, the core collapses due to gravity and crushes electrons and protons together to form neutrons and neutrinos.

How Neutron stars formed

The neutrinos easily escaped from the core but neutrons keep squeezing each other until their density is equal to the atomic nucleus. Neutrons have a very small diameter of 12.5 miles (20 kilometers) but they possess a very high mass (nearly 1.5 times the mass of our sun). For reference, one sugar cube of neutron star would weigh about 1 trillion kilograms (or 1 billion tons) on Earth.

The gravity at the neutron star is around 1011 stronger than the earth. The object can only escape from the gravity of the neutron star if they travel about half the speed of light.

Magnetic Flux

When neutron stars formed they rotate very rapidly in space due to conservation of angular momentum. They have a very strong magnetic field due to the conservation of magnetic flux.

The stars are scattered throughout the universe. But they are not easy to detect as they don’t emit enough radiation. Still, scientists believe that more than hundreds of millions of neutron stars exist in our galaxy.

star emitting radiations

Most of these stars observed as pulsars. The pulsars are still spinning rapidly may emit radiation at a regular interval that lasts for about milliseconds to seconds. From the earth’s surface, these radiations appear to blink on and off as the star spins, like the beam of light from a turning lighthouse.