Stellar Carnage as Neutron Stars Collide

When two neutron stars collide, they viciously shred each other before merging into a black hole punctuated by a gamma ray burst. A new supercomputer simulation sets a mismatched pair of neutron stars in a death-spiral to investigate the process. The merger completes in seconds, ringed by a halo of diffuse gas. » 5/13/14 10:45am 5/13/14 10:45am

Cosmic Mystery: Why did this spinning star suddenly slow down?

Why would a spinning star suddenly slow down? Even after writing a scientific paper about the phenomenon, astronomers still appear to be in shock-and-awe mode about what they saw. » 5/29/13 1:16pm 5/29/13 1:16pm

Pulsar stars could be the perfect interstellar GPS system

When humanity sends spacecraft beyond our solar system, those starships will have to know exactly where they are at all times. A newly proposed cosmic GPS system can track a spacecraft's location to within five kilometers anywhere in the galaxy. » 4/01/12 11:00am 4/01/12 11:00am

The insane conditions needed to create ultra-energetic cosmic rays are…

Every so often, incredibly energetic charged particles will reach Earth - and we're not sure what could possibly be powerful enough to generate these cosmic rays. Now we might have the answer...and it's just an absurdly specific set of circumstances. » 2/01/12 4:30pm 2/01/12 4:30pm

Bizarre star is seemingly older than the explosion that created it in…

There's something very wrong about pulsar SXP 1062. This neutron star was created in the aftermath of a massive supernova. All the evidence says this star formed 40,000 years ago...but its slow spinning tells a far different, much older story. » 12/27/11 12:30pm 12/27/11 12:30pm

Mysterious gamma ray burst has two perfectly good, completely different…

NASA recently observed a cosmic explosion, and nobody knows what it was. Actually, that's not exactly true: there are actually two equally good, utterly different explanations. It was either a collision in our galaxy...or a supernova billions of light-years away. » 12/01/11 1:57pm 12/01/11 1:57pm

One of the most intensively studied objects in space has been…

Pulsars are the lighthouses of the universe; from here on Earth, the waves of electromagnetic radiation emitted by these incredibly dense neutron stars as they whirl rapidly about their axes resemble rhythmic pulses of light. » 10/06/11 2:30pm 10/06/11 2:30pm

Neutron star observed creating otherwise impossible form of matter

Neutron stars are the unimaginably dense remnants of collapsed giant stars. They get their name because the conditions inside are so fierce that atoms are smashed apart into a soup of protons, electrons, and, yes, neutrons. And now we have the first direct evidence that neutron stars are forming superfluids of… » 2/06/11 1:20pm 2/06/11 1:20pm

Stars so weird that they make black holes look boring

When a giant star dies, it can collapse into a black hole or implode into an ultra-dense neutron star. But there are even stranger possibilities. Here are some theorized stars that make black holes look downright boring. » 12/09/10 4:32pm 12/09/10 4:32pm

Record-breaking neutron star packs twice the Sun's mass into a…

The most massive neutron star ever discovered has been found 3000 light-years away. The tiny star is twice as massive as the Sun but its diameter is mere miles across. This discovery confirms these stars really are made of neutrons. » 10/31/10 8:00am 10/31/10 8:00am

Magnetar has magnetic fields that are mysteriously intense

Pulsars, or neutron stars, are the universe's densest objects other than black holes. Special pulsars known as magnetars can have intense magnetic fields up to a trillion times stronger than our Sun...but one strange magnetar has been hiding its powers. » 10/15/10 11:14am 10/15/10 11:14am