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“It’s a big puzzle now”: the secret life of neutron stars

What I love most about science is things are constantly changing and nothing is really ever certain, making the universe even more of a mind boggling “thing” than it is already. And over at Michigan State University a group of researchers may have unlocked some data that disproves any conventional wisdom about neutron stars.

neutron star: “a celestial object of very small radius (typically 18 miles/30 km) and very high density, composed predominantly of closely packed neutrons. Neutron stars are thought to form by the gravitational collapse of the remnant of a massive star after a supernova explosion, provided that the star is insufficiently massive to produce a black hole.” (via Google)

Before it was thought that a neutron star’s surface was self-heated in the crust due to ongoing nuclear reactions, but the new study concludes that, “previously unknown layers where nuclear reactions within the crust cause rapid neutrino cooling. Neutrinos are elementary particles created through radioactive decay that pass quickly through matter.”

Among scientists one researcher Hendrik Schatz noted this discovery “completely changes the way we think about the question of the star’s hot surface […] [and] [i]t’s a big puzzle now.”

(photo via MOB DB)

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Kaitlin Duffy is a writer from Cleveland. When she's not blogging or pondering the great complexities of the world and outer space, she is finding rare vinyl steals, visiting new places, laughing often, Instagramming everything in sight, watching movies, or working on her first feature Port de Cleve.