Neutron stars are born from the death of stars 4 to 8 times more massive than the Sun, with more massive stars collapsing creating black holes. When the fuel is exhausted, the star will not be able to carry out nuclear reactions to balance, so it will collapse under the influence of its own gravity. They will emit violent supernova explosions that leave each extremely dense core, the gravity of which is so great that it forces protons and electrons to combine to create neutrons. The name “Neutron” begins here.

The heaviest neutron star found

The neutron star PSR J0952-0607 was discovered in 2017 about 3,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Sextans. Measurements show that the star is 2.35 times more massive than the Sun and completes more than 700 revolutions per second making it the heaviest and fastest rotating neutron star known.

Small but mighty

Although only about 20km in diameter, neutron stars have nearly one and a half times the mass of our Sun. They are so dense that even the size of a stone has a mass of billions of tons. The gravity on a neutron star is 2 billion times stronger than the gravitational force on Earth. In fact, neutron stars have gravity strong enough to swallow other stars to bend light allowing astronomers to see behind the star.

A neutron star is absorbing matter from another star. Photo: NASA.

Once formed, neutron stars will rotate through space. Because of the great compression and contraction, this rotational speed increases due to conservation of angular momentum. They can spin as fast as 43,000 times per minute and slow down over time.

Heavy elemental

Like normal stars, two neutron stars can orbit each other. If they are close enough, they can even collide creating a violent phenomenon known as “kilonova” that shakes the universe. In 2017, researchers detected gravitational waves and light coming from an explosion of two neutron stars colliding.

Research has shown that neutron star collisions are the source of most of the universe’s gold, platinum and other heavy elements. This has solved the question of science in the world for many years about the origin of superheavy elements.

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