by Staff Writers
Turku, Finland (SPX) Nov 23, 2017
Neutron stars are made out of cold ultra-dense matter. How this matter behaves is one of the biggest mysteries in modern nuclear physics. Researchers developed a new method for measuring the radius of neutron stars which helps them to understand what happens to the matter inside the star under extreme pressure.
A new method for measuring neutron star size was developed in a study led by a high-energy astrophysics research group at the University of Turku, Finland. The method relies on modelling how thermonuclear explosions taking place in the uppermost layers of the star emit X-rays to us.
By comparing the observed X-ray radiation from neutron stars to the state-of-the-art theoretical radiation models, researchers were able to put constraints on the size of the emitting source. This new analysis suggests that the neutron star radius should be about 12.4 kilometers.
"Previous measurements have shown that the radius of a neutron star is circa 10-16 kilometres. We constrained it to be around 12 kilometres with about 400 meters accuracy, or maybe 1000 meters if one wants to be really sure. Therefore, the new measurement is a clear improvement compared to that before, says Doctoral Candidate Joonas Nattila from the University of Turku who developed the method.
The new measurements help researchers to study what kind of nuclear-physical conditions exist inside extremely dense neutron stars. Researchers are particularly interested in determining equation of state of the neutron matter, which shows how compressible the matter is at extremely high densities.
"The density of neutron star matter is circa 100 million tons per cubic centimetre. At the moment, neutron stars are the only objects appearing in nature, with which these types of extreme states of matter can be studied," says Juri Poutanen, the leader of the research group.
The new results also help to understand the recently discovered gravitational waves that originated from the collision of two neutron stars. That is why the LIGO/VIRGO consortium that discovered these waves was quick to compare their recent observations with the new constraints obtained by the Finnish researchers.
"The specific shape of the gravitational wave signal is highly dependent on the radii and the equation of state of the neutron stars. It is very exciting how these two completely different measurements tell the same story about the composition of neutron stars. The next natural step is to combine these two results. We have already been having active discussions with our colleagues on how to do this," says Nattila.
Atlanta GA (SPX) Nov 23, 2017
Astronomers have discovered some of the oldest stars in our Milky Way galaxy by determining their locations and velocities, according to a study led by scientists at Georgia State University. Just like humans, stars have a life span: birth, youth, adulthood, senior and death. This study focused on old or "senior citizen" stars, also known as cool subdwarfs, that are much older and cooler i ... read more
University of Turku
Stellar Chemistry, The Universe And All Within It
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|