Home > Astronomy, Astrophysics, General Astronomy, Neutron Stars > Neutron Star Blows Away Models for Thermonuclear Explosions

Neutron Star Blows Away Models for Thermonuclear Explosions


Amsterdam astronomers have discovered a neutron star that confounds existing models for thermonuclear explosions in such extreme objects. In the case of the accreting pulsar IGR J17480-2446, it seems to be a strong magnetic field that causes some parts of the star to burn more brightly than the rest. The results of the study, by Yuri Cavecchi et al. (2011), are to be published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The neutron star concerned is part of the X-ray binary IGR J17480-2446 (hereafter J17480). X-ray binaries consist of a neutron star and a companion star in orbit around each other. Neutron stars, which are about 1.5 times as massive as the Sun, with a diameter of about 25 km, have a strong gravitational field that can pull gas from the companion star. This gas can build up on the neutron star surface and explode in a fast, high-energy thermonuclear reaction. Normally, the entire surface of the star explodes uniformly. However, in about 10 percent of cases, some parts of the star become much brighter than the rest. Why this occurs is not understood.

Full Story: http://astronews.us/2011-09-14-1553.html

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