Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The mystery of neutron stars heats up

02.12.2013
Until now, scientists were pretty sure they knew how the surface of a neutron star – a super dense star that forms when a large star explodes and its core collapses into itself – can heat itself up.

However, research by a team of scientists led by a Michigan State University physicist has researchers rethinking that.

Scientists had long thought that nuclear reactions within the crust, the thick, solid, outermost layer of the star, contributed to the heating of the star's surface.

However, writing in the journal Nature, Hendrik Schatz and colleagues report results from theoretical calculations that identify previously unknown layers where nuclear reactions within the crust cause rapid neutrino cooling. Neutrinos are elementary particles created through radioactive decay that pass quickly through matter.

"These cooling layers are pretty shallow beneath the surface," said Schatz, a professor of physics and astronomy. "If heat from deeper within the star comes up, it hits this layer and never makes it to the surface."

Schatz said this discovery produces more questions than answers.

"This completely changes the way we think about the question of the star's hot surface," he said. "It's a big puzzle now."

On the sub-atomic level, the team found that the process is greatly affected by the shape of the reacting nuclei.

"Many nuclei are round, and that suppresses the neutrino cooling," said Sanjib Gupta, co-author and faculty member at IIT Ropar in India. "In this case, the nuclei are predicted by theorists to be 'deformed,' more football-shaped."

This study also points to the discovery potential of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. FRIB will be a new U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national user facility built on the MSU campus. It is exactly these types of nuclei that researchers could examine in the facility.

This work was enabled by the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics. JINA is a National Science Foundation Physics Frontiers Center on Nuclear Astrophysics that promotes collaboration between astrophysicists and nuclear physicists. MSU is one of the core institutions of JINA.

Schatz's co-authors were Gupta; Peter Möller from Los Alamos National Lab; Mary Beard and Michael Wiescher from the University of Notre Dame; Edward Brown, Alex Deibel, Laurens Keek, and Rita Lau from MSU; Leandro Gasques from the Universidade de Sao Paulo; William Hix from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee; and Andrew Steiner from the University of Washington.

Tom Oswald | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.msu.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather
25.07.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht A new level of magnetic saturation
25.07.2017 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>