Science

Star Tales

Part II – The Neutron Star

Found in the impressive constellation of Corona Australis alongside six other stellar bodies of great magnificence [1] lies the heroine of this story. Presently, she is the collapsed nucleus of a star, which means that she is a VERY small stellar body as well as a VERY dense one. However, prior to this collapse, this star had a magnitude between 10 and 29 solar masses; indicating that she used to be a gigantic star.

So how did this star incur such a drastic mass loss?

Ah, excellent question! Allow me to explain.

About a million years ago in a distant galaxy, there were two twin stars that together formed a binary star. They possessed an enviable cosmic wealth, because, in addition to being a double star system, they had everything necessary to enjoy a comfortable and long-lasting universal existence. And with great delight they pranced along their cosmic corner, enjoying the company of the galactic elements and stellar bodies that were around them.

But soon a fateful day would arrive and everything they once knew vanished.

This event was initially propitiated by one of the dear twins, who just so happened to be reaching the end of her days. Sadly without knowing it, since the Universe does not usually give a specific time for the end of things.

As is common for such large stars, she was about to explode in a supernova. And although this phenomenon is a proliferation of luminosity and power, it is still painful for the stellar bodies that must endure it. Her sister, on the other hand, had terror drawn all over her face. She couldn’t stand the decadent laments of her twin. And feebly she hoped that this was just a terrible nightmare.

To her misfortune, this was not a dream and her destiny, just like her sister’s, would soon force her to leave the Universe she loved so much.

Consequently, during the shocking explosion of the first sister, the second one was caught in the impact. And that collision compressed her nucleus beyond the density of white dwarf stars, forcing her to conform to the simplicity of a simple atomic nucleus. However, despite the tiny fraction of mass that was left behind from her once enormous body, this stellar corpse now moves at 108 km / s. And it is all thanks to the density of the thousands of neutrons it carries.

Getting as such the affectionate name of neutron star.


[1] Grouping of neutron stars called “the Magnificent Seven.” For more information, see: The_Magnificent_Seven_(neutron_stars).

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