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neutron stars

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"
astrophysics

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"
astrophysics

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.

Illustration for Extreme Radio Bursts
astrophysics

Astronomers Trace Radio Burst to Extreme Cosmic Neighborhood

January 10, 2018

A mysterious object that repeatedly bursts with ultra-powerful radio waves must live in an extreme environment — something like the one around a supermassive black hole.

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

How Triangulation Leads to Knowledge

January 4, 2018

What does measuring distances in sailing and astrophysics have to with motion sickness?

An artist’s view of a pulsar near the center of the Messier 82 galaxy.
astrophysics

Galactic Glow, Thought to Be Dark Matter, Now Hints at Hidden Pulsars

November 14, 2017

A number of high-energy anomalies raised hopes that astrophysicists had seen their first direct glimpses of dark matter. New studies suggest a different source may be responsible.

astrophysics

Squishy or Solid? A Neutron Star’s Insides Open to Debate

October 30, 2017

The core of a neutron star is such an extreme environment that physicists can’t agree on what happens inside. But a new space-based experiment — and a few more colliding neutron stars — should reveal whether neutrons themselves break down.

Artist’s rendering of merging neutron stars.
cosmology

Colliding Neutron Stars Could Settle the Biggest Debate in Cosmology

October 25, 2017

Newly discovered “standard sirens” provide an independent, clean way to measure how fast the universe is expanding.