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Neutron Stars

The crushed remnant of a star that exploded as a supernova. Stars that are born with about 8 to 20 times the mass of the Sun blast most of their material into interstellar space in titanic explosions, leaving only their crushed, dense cores. Neutron stars are named after their composition: neutrons. In a star with a core that is 1.4 to 3 times the mass of the Sun, the core collapses so completely that electrons and protons combine to form neutrons. A full bathtub of neutron-star material (instead of water) would weigh as much as two Mount Everests. A neutron star is about 10-15 miles (16-24 km) in diameter, with a liquid neutron core and a crust of solid iron. Some neutron stars, called pulsars, spin rapidly (from once a second to several hundred times per second) and generate powerful magnetic fields.

Radio Programs

Golden Stars Dying stars and precious metals July 26, 2023

NICER Astronomy A “nicer” way to study a neutron star May 10, 2023

Vela A giant cloud of stellar debris April 7, 2023

Dead and Dying A dead and dying star system April 6, 2023

Dead Stars An impressive collection of dead stars March 19, 2023

Fritz Zwicky Throwing farther than anyone else February 14, 2023

Strange Matter “Strange” goings-on inside dead stars March 10, 2022

Magnetic Merger The brilliant birth of a magnetar March 4, 2021

Ancient Planet The life of an ancient planet November 22, 2020

Heaviest Neutron Star Peeking into the heart of a dead star September 3, 2020

Vela Supernova Inflating a giant bubble April 11, 2020

Crab Pulsar Spinning up a dead star February 11, 2020

Heavy Merger “Jiggles” from a heavyweight merger November 27, 2019

Rare Earths The residue of stellar collisions October 9, 2019

Magnetars A stellar corpse to avoid March 5, 2019

Making a Black Hole Making a little black hole September 14, 2018

Crab Nebula Sculpting an interstellar crab April 19, 2018

Second-Chance Planets New planets after a stellar explosion January 25, 2018

Pulsars III Timing ripples in space and time November 29, 2017

Pulsars II “Dead” stars that spin like crazy November 28, 2017

Making Gold Making gold in the oddest of places November 6, 2017

Supernova 1987A Looking for a hidden star February 22, 2017

NICER A “nicer” kind of satellite February 21, 2017

Neutron Stars Crushing the core of a mighty star February 20, 2017

Featured Images

nicer, an x-ray telescope, operating from the international space station

Nicer Astronomy May 10, 2023

simulation depicting the merger of two neutron stars

Defying Gravity May 8, 2023

Coalescence June 30, 2021

Black hole begins to swallow a neutron star

Heavyweight Merger November 27, 2019

Debris disk around a neutron star

Stellar Afterlife September 19, 2018

NICER X-Ray Telescope Attached to International Space Station

A 'Nicer' View of the Sky February 21, 2017