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More Insight into Neutron Star Interiors

15 Sep 2021, 16:00 UTC
More Insight into Neutron Star Interiors
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Editor’s note: AAS Nova is on vacation until 22 September. Normal posting will resume at that time; in the meantime, we’ll be taking this opportunity to look at a few interesting AAS journal articles that have recently been in the news or drawn attention.
What’s inside the dense interior of a neutron star, the remnant left behind at the end of a massive star’s evolution? Scientists have now searched for the answer to this question using new observations of an extreme neutron star from NASA’s Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER).
Scientists think neutron stars are layered. As shown in this illustration, the state of matter in their inner cores remains mysterious. [NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Conceptual Image Lab]Neutron star J0740+6620 is the heaviest neutron star that’s been precisely measured — and correspondingly precise measurements of its radius could provide the key to finally figuring out what its interior structure looks like. In a set of recent studies, one led by Cole Miller (University of Maryland) and the other by Thomas Riley (University of Amsterdam), two teams of scientists used NICER’s X-ray observations of J0740 to obtain accurate measures of the star’s radius using two different approaches. They found that ...

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