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Strange Quark Matter (SQM) Planets

17 Jan 2015, 22:00 UTC
Strange Quark Matter (SQM) Planets
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At extreme densities, normal matter may exist in the form of strange quark matter (SQM). A consequence of this hypothesis is the existence of SQM stars which are hard to distinguish from neutron stars. SQM stars and neutron stars are both ultra-compact stars that measure only several kilometres across but can contain 1 to 2 times the Sun’s mass. Unlike neutron stars which have a minimum mass limit, SQM stars can have arbitrarily small masses. Since SQM is stable in bulk, planetary-mass clumps of SQM can exist (i.e. SQM planets). The detection of SQM planets would be very useful for testing the SQM hypothesis.Gravitational waves are ripples in the curvature of spacetime that propagate outward from their source. Sources of detectable gravitational waves include binary systems composed of compact objects such as white dwarfs, neutron stars or black holes. A more tightly bound binary system emits stronger gravitational waves. For a normal matter planet orbiting an ultra-compact star, the emitted gravitational wave power is negligible (i.e. non-detectable) since the planet cannot come close enough to the star without being tidally disrupted.However, things become very different for a SQM planet orbiting a SQM star. Due to its extreme compactness, a SQM ...

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