How Big Is A Neutron Star?

Neutron Star

Size of a Neutron Star

One of the wonders of the cosmos is the neutron star, a star in which the atoms have collapsed. In a single cubic centimeter of neutron star material – a chunk little more than the size of a sugar cube – there are are around 100 million tons of matter. An entire neutron star occupies a sphere that is roughly the size across the island of Manhattan (about 14 miles).

Formation of a Neutron Star

A neutron star is the collapsed core of a giant star. Neutron stars are the smallest and densest stars, not counting black holesquark stars and strange stars.

Neutron stars result from the supernova explosion of a massive star, combined with gravitational collapse, that compresses the core past white dwarf star density to that of atomic nuclei. Once formed, they no longer actively generate heat, and cool over time.

There are thought to be around 100 million neutron stars in the Milky Way, a figure obtained by estimating the number of stars that have undergone supernova explosions.

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Brian Clegg

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