Astronomers Detected Millimeter-tall mountains on neutron stars

Topic: Astronomers Detected Millimeter-tall mountains on neutron star.

Source: Eureka Alert

New models of neutron stars show that their tallest mountains may be only fractions of millimetres high, due to the huge gravity on the ultra-dense objects. The research is presented today at the National Astronomy Meeting 2021.

Neutron stars are some of the densest objects in the Universe: they weigh about as much as the Sun, yet measure only around 10km across, similar in size to a large city.

Because of their compactness, neutron stars have an enormous gravitational pull around a billion times stronger than the Earth. This squashes every feature on the surface to miniscule dimensions, and means that the stellar remnant is an almost perfect sphere.

Whilst they are billions of times smaller than on Earth, these deformations from a perfect sphere are nevertheless known as mountains.

The team behind the work, led by PhD student Fabian Gittins at the University of Southampton, used computational modelling to build realistic neutron stars and subject them to a range of mathematical forces to identify how the mountains are created.

The team also studied the role of the ultra-dense nuclear matter in supporting the mountains, and found that the largest mountains produced were only a fraction of a millimetre tall, one hundred times smaller than previous estimates.

Fabian comments, “For the past two decades, there has been much interest in understanding how large these mountains can be before the crust of the neutron star breaks, and the mountain can no longer be supported.”

Past work has suggested that neutron stars can sustain deviations from a perfect sphere of up to a few parts in one million, implying the mountains could be as large as a few centimetres.

These calculations assumed the neutron star was strained in such a way that the crust was close to breaking at every point. However the new models indicate that such conditions are not physically realistic.

Fabian adds: “These results show how neutron stars truly are remarkably spherical objects. Additionally, they suggest that observing gravitational waves from rotating neutron stars may be even more challenging than previously thought.”

Although they are single objects, due to their intense gravitation, spinning neutron stars with slight deformations should produce ripples in the fabric of spacetime known as gravitational waves.

Gravitational waves from rotations of single neutron stars have yet to be observed, although future advances in extremely sensitive detectors such as advanced LIGO and Virgo may hold the key to probing these unique objects.

Neutron Star  

CAPTION: Artist’s depiction of a neutron star./ CREDIT : ESO / L. Calçada

When a massive Star exits all its fuel and Collapses this leads to formation of a Neutron Star. In very simple words , we can say ,When each and every electron and proton collapses into a neutron in the core of a massive Star then Neutron stars are Formed.

Now the question is on what factors it depends on whether a star will become a neutron star or a black hole. Basically the answer of this question is , the core of the star with 1 to 3 or 4 times the mass of the sun will turn into a Neutron star while the core of the star with mass more than 4 or 5 times the solar mass will turn into a stellar black hole , stellar black holes are those black holes whose masses are small as Compared to a average black hole mass. 

Let’s talk about a fun fact about the Neutron star which will definitely Shock you and the fact is, the weight of one spoon of neutron star is approximately about 10 million tons. Yes I know it’s very hard to accept but this is a fact. 

Now let’s continue with our topic. Since neutron stars began their existence as stars, they are found scattered throughout the galaxy at the same place where we find stars.  And like stars, they can be found alone or in a binary system with a partner star.

In the observable Universe we can see there are fewer  Neutron Stars but this is not because Neutron Stars are very hard to detect, that is the reason why we see very less Neutron Stars.

Now the question arises why Neutron Stars are hard to detect , this is because usually neutron stars do not emit large amounts of radiation or we can say they don’t emit enough radiations , So they are hard to detect.

However, under certain conditions, they can be easily observed.  A handful of neutron stars have been found quietly emitting X-rays at the centers of supernova remnants.  More often, however, neutron stars are found to be moving wildly with highly magnetic fields in the form of pulsars or magnetar.

In binary systems, some neutron stars can be found collecting material from their peers, emitting electromagnetic radiation driven by the gravitational energy of the electric material.

So guys this is all about Neutron star in short ,Hope you are satisfied with the explanation.


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