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Cooling Neutron Star

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Mon May 1, 2017 10:18 am via: NASA
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The bright source near the center is a neutron star, the incredibly dense, collapsed remains of a massive stellar core. Surrounding it is supernova remnant Cassiopeia A (Cas A), a comfortable 11,000 light-years away. Light from the Cas A supernova, the death explosion of a massive star, first reached Earth about 350 years ago. The expanding debris cloud spans about 15 light-years in this composite X-ray/optical image.

Still hot enough to emit X-rays, Cas A’s neutron star is cooling. In fact, years of observations with the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory find that the neutron star is cooling rapidly — so rapidly that researchers suspect a large part of the neutron star’s core is forming a frictionless neutron superfluid. The Chandra results represent the first observational evidence for this bizarre state of neutron matter.

Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/UNAM/Ioffe/D.Page, P. Shternin et al; Optical: NASA/STScI;  Illustration: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss

Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/UNAM/Ioffe/D.Page, P. Shternin et al; Optical: NASA/STScI; Illustration: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss

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