Quick entry today that some of our science geeks might enjoy.
Just saw this BBC article on a rare, isolated neutron star discovered close to Earth — “close” meaning 250 to 1,000 light years away. It is unusual for (1) being isolated from other phenomenon which are normally common to neutron stars, (2) its location high above the plane of the Milky Way, and (3) being bright in its X-ray emissions but faint in visible light. On the last of these, there are currently “no widely accepted alternative theories to explain objects such as this” which display this X-ray/visible light characteristic.
There are seven other such isolated neutron stars that astronomers know of, often referred to as the “Magnificent Seven.” They thus named this one “Calvera” after the bad guy in The Magnificent Seven. none of the other seven apparently exhibit the X-ray/visible light phenomenon, apparently, causing them to suspect that either Calvera is a rare type of known neutron star or a completely new type. (Yul Brynner could not be reached for comment.)
Ever since I was a child I have been fascinated with neutron stars. Well, not entirely. Their wonder tended to fade compared to my fascination with black holes, but as I matured a bit I took notice of them again. The idea of a star’s gravity crushing its atoms’ electrons and protons together until the entire star is just one giant mass of neutrons just seemed amazing. And it still does!
I rather like the image accompanying the BBC article:
It makes me wish all the more that I could move at the speed of thought and just zoom out to visit the thing.
Again, here’s the article. Click on over to read some of the details I have left off: