Neutron stars have mountains less than one millimeter high

Artist's depiction of a neutron star.

Artist’s depiction of a neutron star.
picture: ESO / L. Sidewalk

A team of astrophysicists recently used new models of neutron stars to map mountains — small, raised regions — above them. Perfect spherical structures for stars. They find that the largest deviations are still unusually small due to Intense gravitational pull, up to less than a millimeter long.

Neutron stars are the dead cores of massive stars that have collapsed in on themselves. they They are the densest objects in the universe other than black holes. They are called neutron stars because their gravity is so intense that electrons in their atoms collapse in Protons, forming neutrons. It is very compact مضغوط They pack a greater mass than those in Our sun is in a sphere no wider than the city.

The team’s assessment of “mountains” comes on these neutron stars النجوم two Leaves Currently hosted on the arXiv prepress server; together, Newspapers assess the extent of these mountains. The team’s findings are presented today at the Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy Meeting.

“Over the past two decades, there has been a great deal of interest in understanding how wide these mountains were before the neutron star’s crust broke, and the mountain could no longer be supported,” said Fabian Gittens, an astrophysicist at the University of Southampton. and lead author of both papers, at the Royal Astronomical Society الجمعية press release.

Previous work suggested mountains of neutron stars could be a few centimeters high – much larger than what the latest team has. estimated. Previous calculations assumed that a neutron star would have such large protuberances on its surface if it were Tense to its limits, like an Atlas that holds the world. But the latest modeling have found Previous calculations are unrealistic behavior that would be expected from a neutron star.

The Crab Nebula, photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope.  A neutron star is at the heart of the structure that formed from a supernova.

“Over the past two decades, there has been great interest in understanding how wide these mountains were before the neutron star’s crust broke, and the mountain could no longer be supported,” Gittens explains in the statement.

Previous work suggested that neutron stars can tolerate deviations from an ideal sphere of the order of a few parts in 1 . million, which means that mountains can reach a few centimeterss. These calculations assumed that the neutron star had been strained in such a way that the crust came close to collapsing at every point. However, New models indicate that such conditions are unlikely.

“A neutron star has a liquid core, a flexible crust and above all a thin liquid ocean. Each region is complex, but let’s forget the finer details,” Nils Anderson, a co-author on both papers and an astrophysicist at the University of Southampton, said, in a letter. “What we have done is build models that connect these different regions together in the right way. This allows us to say when and where the elastic crust first breaks. Previous models assumed that stress is maximum at all points at the same time and this leads (we think) to very large mountains “.

These crustal outgrowths mean that energy from the mountain will be released into a larger region of the star, Anderson said. Anderson said that while he relies on computer models, the crustal shifts “would not be dramatic enough to make the star collapse, because the crust region includes fairly low-density material.”

Interesting questions remain. Anderson said there is a possibility that after the first crustal fracture, mountains larger than those designed by the team could occur due to The material flow through star surface. But even those mountains will be many Smaller than a hill, compressed by the massive gravity of the stars.

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Olga Dmitrieva

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