An infant neutron star, the super-dense core of a stellar explosion, has been observed for the first time.
The 12.4 mile-wide object is the youngest object of its kind ever discovered, having appeared just 330 years ago.
It has been cloaked in mystery since it was identified as a powerful X-ray source in 1999. Astronomers now know the source is a neutron star 11,000 light years from Earth at the centre of the supernova Cassiopeia A.
Neutron stars are the super-dense compact cores of massive stars whose outer shells have been blasted away in violent explosions at the end of their lives.
Position of the neutron star in Cassiopeia. The 12.4 mile-wide object has been cloaked in mystery since it was identified as a powerful X-ray source in 1999
Compressed tightly by gravity, they are composed almost entirely of neutrons, sub-atomic particles with no electric charge that form part of atoms.
One teaspoonful of material from a neutron star would weigh a billion tonnes...MORE...
- Category: Science & Technology