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 Computer model predicts how fracturing metallic glass releases energy at the atomic level
20.07.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht What happens when we heat the atomic lattice of a magnet all of a sudden?
18.07.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin

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: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>