Rare neutron star found "near" Earth

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:

“Rare dead star found near earth”

3 thoughts on “Rare neutron star found "near" Earth

  1. mike

    Hello All just some simple thoughts when passing by I just kinda thought about the superdense nature of said matter and began to wonder what fuels something at its core? some speculate much in high energy plasmas to new forms of matter, or even super fluids or wired gasses. But actually if we look at the center of of a neutron star or black hole being an instantaneous derivative of space-time, as we approach the middle of it, we assume a point at which the barriers of space-time deteriorate. a quantuum singlarity insues and it then taps into the nature of matter itself trying to occupy itself and trying to “inhabit forever” yet that forever doesnt exist eternally; only in itself, in that “instant.”To it, that is forever; because its limits are so compressed within themselves that to occupy anything less would be rupturing the universe it inhabits. It is that “foreverness” that it vies for. it appear to be feeding off of “forever” converging in a single instant that tries to be nothing, and insodoing actualy forces itself into formation again, by breeching the bounds it imposes by others reaching the same goal to the center of the singularity, the point of forever. Just some thoughts in passing about the nature of quantuum singlarities in realation to the Creator’s creational limits.

    Even though I wasnt there when he drew that line across the face of the deep..its still fun to look through the glass dimly. This explaniation in reverse would be a “big bang theory” things entropically tending only promote chaos and things increasing in order promote novelty as it is written: To the increase of His Government there will be no end…We are the epitomy of that Novelty to eventually inhabit eternity, and even though entropy seems to dissemiate through the cosmos never once was it ever subject to futility. Purposefulness and the Love in proliferation of Eternity, begets more Life Eternally. and Promotion of Novelty is to sustain forgivness and the righting of the entropic forces of darkness to sow fultility in an unfutile creation.

  2. Dear Mr. Smith,

    I STILL find neutron stars more fascinating than black holes, possibly because they are still in the realm of structured matter and therefore something can be known directly about them. Go figure.

    And as for Mike’s comments, even I am reduced for once to “Huh?” 🙂

  3. Duckie

    Could this hole be the bottomless pit of Revelation 20:1-3?


    Huge hole in universe surprises astronomers
    It’s the biggest known void in the cosmos
    By Robert Roy Britt
    Updated: 5:25 p.m. CT Aug 23, 2007

    The universe has a huge hole in it that dwarfs anything else of its kind. The discovery caught astronomers by surprise.

    The hole is nearly a billion light-years across. It is not a black hole, which is a small sphere of densely packed matter. Rather, this one is mostly devoid of stars, gas and other normal matter, and it’s also strangely empty of the mysterious “dark matter” that permeates the cosmos. Other space voids have been found before, but nothing on this scale.

    Astronomers don’t know why the hole is there.

    “Not only has no one ever found a void this big, but we never even expected to find one this size,” said researcher Lawrence Rudnick of the University of Minnesota.

    Rudnick’s colleague Liliya R. Williams also had not anticipated this finding.

    “What we’ve found is not normal, based on either observational studies or on computer simulations of the large-scale evolution of the universe,” said Williams, also of the University of Minnesota.

    The finding will be detailed in the Astrophysical Journal.

    The universe is populated with visible stars, gas and dust, but most of the matter in the universe is invisible. Scientists know something is there, because they can measure the gravitational effects of the so-called dark matter. Voids exist, but they are typically relatively small.

    The gargantuan hole was found by examining observations made using the Very Large Array radio telescope, funded by the National Science Foundation.

    There is a “remarkable drop in the number of galaxies” in a region of sky in the constellation Eridanus, Rudnick said.

    The region had been previously been dubbed the “WMAP Cold Spot,” because it stood out in a map of the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation made by NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotopy Probe satellite. The CMB is an imprint of radiation left from the Big Bang, the theoretical beginning of the universe.

    “Although our surprising results need independent confirmation, the slightly colder temperature of the CMB in this region appears to be caused by a huge hole devoid of nearly all matter roughly 6 to 10 billion light-years from Earth,” Rudnick said.

    Photons of the CMB gain a small amount of energy when they pass through normal regions of space with matter, the researchers explained. But when the CMB passes through a void, the photons lose energy, making the CMB from that part of the sky appear cooler.
    © 2007 Space.com. All rights reserved. More from Space.com.

    URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20415284/
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    © 2007 MSNBC.com

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