Between rainbows, rings, and sharp, hard lines, it’s difficult to not clap my hands in glee while unpacking the levels of awesome crammed in this X-ray image of Circinus X-1. The beautiful bullseye light echoes hint this neutron star is farther, brighter, and more like a black hole than we thought.
When two neutron stars collide, they viciously shred each other before merging into a black hole punctuated by a gamma ray burst. A new supercomputer simulation sets a mismatched pair of neutron stars in a death-spiral to investigate the process. The merger completes in seconds, ringed by a halo of diffuse gas.
Why would a spinning star suddenly slow down? Even after writing a scientific paper about the phenomenon, astronomers still appear to be in shock-and-awe mode about what they saw.
When humanity sends spacecraft beyond our solar system, those starships will have to know exactly where they are at all times. A newly proposed cosmic GPS system can track a spacecraft's location to within five kilometers anywhere in the galaxy.
Every so often, incredibly energetic charged particles will reach Earth - and we're not sure what could possibly be powerful enough to generate these cosmic rays. Now we might have the answer...and it's just an absurdly specific set of circumstances.
There's something very wrong about pulsar SXP 1062. This neutron star was created in the aftermath of a massive supernova. All the evidence says this star formed 40,000 years ago...but its slow spinning tells a far different, much older story.
NASA recently observed a cosmic explosion, and nobody knows what it was. Actually, that's not exactly true: there are actually two equally good, utterly different explanations. It was either a collision in our galaxy...or a supernova billions of light-years away.
Pulsars are the lighthouses of the universe; from here on Earth, the waves of electromagnetic radiation emitted by these incredibly dense neutron stars as they whirl rapidly about their axes resemble rhythmic pulses of light.
Neutron stars are the unimaginably dense remnants of collapsed giant stars. They get their name because the conditions inside are so fierce that atoms are smashed apart into a soup of protons, electrons, and, yes, neutrons. And now we have the first direct evidence that neutron stars are forming superfluids of…
When a giant star dies, it can collapse into a black hole or implode into an ultra-dense neutron star. But there are even stranger possibilities. Here are some theorized stars that make black holes look downright boring.
The most massive neutron star ever discovered has been found 3000 light-years away. The tiny star is twice as massive as the Sun but its diameter is mere miles across. This discovery confirms these stars really are made of neutrons.
Pulsars, or neutron stars, are the universe's densest objects other than black holes. Special pulsars known as magnetars can have intense magnetic fields up to a trillion times stronger than our Sun...but one strange magnetar has been hiding its powers.