Neutron star density

Imagine something having the mass of our sun, multiplied by about 1.5, and only 20 miles in diameter. That is a Neutron star. Something so incredibly dense that a teaspoon size sample of it could weigh 100 million tons; Mount Everest sitting on a teaspoon. I have even heard estimations, from well respected institutions, that a neutron star can weigh as much as a billion tons per teaspoon.

 

sun

A neutron star is formed when a star, 4 to 8 times larger than our sun, explodes. A star that explodes is called a supernova. The outer layers, obviously disperse, leaving behind a core that collapses in on itself. The collapsing core continues to collapse via the enormous gravitational influence it has on itself, and eventually becomes so tight that protons and electrons combine to make neutrons; hence the name “neutron star.”

But, to get that teaspoon full of matter from a neutron star, you would have to navigate its tremendous gravitational influence. The gravity of a neutron star can be more than a billion times stronger than we experience here on Earth. In addition to the enormous gravitational pull on a neutron star, you would also have to land on something that can spin thousands and thousands of times per minute; some estimate more than 40,000 spins per minute. The Earth, of course, takes an entire 24 hours to spin just one time.

So, how do we see something only 20 miles in diameter against the vastness of space that extends billions of light years? A pulsar! Neutron stars emit jets of energy – electromagnetic radiation – at the speed of light. If theses beams of energy are pointed towards the Earth, we can hear them as pulses that are picked up through radio detection . But, they have to be pointing towards us, as the beams only shoot out in 2 directions; one part of the star, and the opposite part of the star. The pulsing sound is how they got the name “pulsar.”

So, the next time you think you need to lose some weight, remember the neutron star and the lack of dieting it has.

 

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