Neutron Star Analysis


Question Description

Science Friday *just* had a brief discussion about neutrons stars! You can find it here:

1) Explain four new ideas or terms about neutron stars or black holes that you learned from this radio-cast.

2) What are the two possible explanations for why these neutron stars shine so brightly? (Do your best at describing what the physicist Matt Middleton tries to explain.)

3) What does physicist Matt Middleton say when the host Ira Flatow suggests that people pay more attention to black holes than less-exciting neutrons stars?

4) What, to you, was the most interesting aspect of this story?

Read the article about the interior "spaghetti" of neutron stars, that I have in class, OR read this online article from

For more details and some interesting diagrams, you can check this article from astrobite Oct 5, 2017.

1) Find four (4) terms or phrases you don’t recognize and attempt to define them.

2) What is “nuclear pasta”?

3) What evidence (contradictory situation) leads physicists to believe something like “pasta” exists?

4) What struck you as interesting in this article?

Tutor Answer

School: UCLA


Running head: NEUTRON STAR





Neutron stars
Neutron stars are very dense bodies that form after stars end their lifespan and die. With
a diameter of several kilometers across, they can still manage to have a mass equivalent to two or
three adequately sized suns. Neutron stars can glow much brighter if they are in a binary system
with another neutron star, which enables them to take in gas from their close companion. Some
neutron stars, however, burn much brighter than they ought to (Moskowitz, 2013). According to
researchers, this may be due to a powerful magnetic field attributed to being ten million times the
energy generated on the entire earth by all physics experiments
Why neutron stars shine so bright
One explanation would be attributed to geometrical beaming whereby materials are put
together at very high rates towards a neutron star. The resultant form would be an acceleration
disk with the neutron star at the center. At some distance along the radius, the edges puff up
while the neutron star gets trapped at the center, forming a cone-shaped structure. The cone
catches lots of radiation from the neutron star, and the disk, therefore, projects then outwards
since it's mirrored from the inside, just like the working principle of the flashlight.
Another explanation would be the pres...

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