Astronomy 101: Neutron stars
In this video, explore the various superdense remnants of massive stars, which hold between 1 and 3 times the Sun’s mass and are so dense that a teaspoon of their matter weighs about a billion tons.
A neutron star is a superdense remnant of a massive sun. A star that holds at least 8 times the Sun’s mass will burn through its material much faster than the Sun will. This massive star will then die dramatically as a supernova. This explosive event tears layers of gas away from the star, leaving behind its dense core.
Cassiopeia A is one example of a supernova remnant with a central neutron star — the central turquoise dot in this image.
Photo by X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/STScI; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Steward/O. Krause, et al.
The leftover neutron star is about 12 miles (20 kilometers) in diameter and holds between 1 and 3 times the Sun’s mass, approximately. It’s so dense that a teaspoon of this matter weighs about a billion tons. A neutron star’s density increases toward its center, where it holds a fluid of electrons, protons, and neutrons.
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