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neutron stars

Historical star chart of the constellation Monoceros.
Abstractions blog

‘Unicorn’ Discovery Points to a New Population of Black Holes

January 27, 2021

Small black holes were nowhere to be found, leading astronomers to wonder if they didn’t exist at all. Now a series of findings, including a “unicorn” black hole, has raised hopes of solving the decade-long mystery.

Abstractions blog

Secret Ingredient Found to Power Supernovas

January 21, 2021

Three-dimensional supernova simulations have solved the mystery of why they explode at all.

A magnetar.

A Surprise Discovery Points to the Source of Fast Radio Bursts

June 11, 2020

After a burst lit up their telescope “like a Christmas tree,” astronomers were able to finally track down the source of these cosmic oddities.

Computer simulation of gravitational waves produced by a binary neutron star merger.
Abstractions blog

‘Radical Change’ Needed After Latest Neutron Star Collision

February 20, 2020

A recent neutron star merger has defied astronomers’ expectations, leading them to question longstanding ideas about neutron stars and the supernovas that create them. “We have to go back to the drawing board.”

Illustration of a magnetar with blue magnetic field lines.
Abstractions blog

The Most-Magnetic Objects in the Universe Attract New Controversy

October 28, 2019

How do magnetars get so magnetic? A study of stellar explosions shows that the long-accepted theory might be wrong.

Abstractions blog

Physicists Peer Inside a Fireball of Quantum Matter

July 30, 2019

Experimenters in Germany have glimpsed the kind of strange, non-atomic matter thought to fill the cores of merging neutron stars.

Photo lede for "With a Second Repeating Radio Burst, Astronomers Close In on an Explanation"

With a Second Repeating Radio Burst, Astronomers Close In on an Explanation

February 28, 2019

Brief cosmic blips called fast radio bursts have puzzled astronomers since their discovery earlier this decade. Now researchers appear to be close to understanding what powers them.

Lede art for "Troubled Times for Alternatives to Einstein’s Theory of Gravity"

Troubled Times for Alternatives to Einstein’s Theory of Gravity

April 30, 2018

New observations of extreme astrophysical systems have “brutally and pitilessly murdered” attempts to replace Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

Illustration: man using rulers stacked on a compass as a telescope
Insights puzzle

Solution: ‘Triangulation and Motion Sickness’

January 30, 2018

A method for estimating distances in sailing and astrophysics helps explain why riding on buses and boats can make us nauseous.