Over the years astronomers have been baffled by the discovery of the enormous amount of peculiar celestial structures, starting from black holes, dark matter, dark energy, quasars, planets orbiting more than one star, planets where it rains with glass, and many others. Not many years ago, humanity couldn’t be sure about the existence of planets outside our Solar System, but until know astronomers discovered thousands of them. Now, the astronomers spotted an extremely dense neutron star.
Astronomers spotter an extremely dense neutron star
But no matter how many unusual objects scientists find in space, the Universe is way too big to have uncovered all of its secrets to us humans. And today’s winning prize goes to an extremely dense pulsar called J0740+6620, which is so massive that scientists would not have believed that it can actually exist. Any more density applied to the pulsar and it will collapse in a black hole, which has infinite density and gravitational pull and it’s considered one of the most mysterious objects in the Universe.
J0740+6620 was discovered by Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and it can very easily also be considered a neutron star that spins and shoots enormous radiation waves into deep space.
But just how dense the pulsar J0740+6620 actually is?
To give you a pretty good picture of how dense J0740+6620 is, imagine taking 3 stars that are each about the same mass as our Sun and compressing them to be the same size as Bucharest, the capital city of Romania. The mass of the stars would be the same, even though the size has been modified. And for those who don’t know, our Sun is more than 300.000 times the mass of the Earth. That’s just the case for the pulsar J0740+6620: it’s incredibly massive but also incredibly small, only 19 miles across.
Neutron star by definition are weird enough
Even for today’s science neutron stars represent an enigma. How else can you consider a highly compressed sphere and the remnant of a star that exploded? How can something so bright and massive be born after an explosion so violent and powerful like a supernova, which can be as bright as an entire galaxy?
Scott Ransom, an astronomer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and co-author of a paper publishing Monday in Nature Astronomy, said that “a neutron star has his tipping point where their interior densities get so extreme that the force of gravity overwhelms even the ability of neutrons to resist further collapse.”
Who knows what other unusual cosmic objects astronomers will find out there? But probably the weirdest thing in the Universe remains the mere existence of conscious, rational, and incredibly complex beings like us who can ask themselves questions about why celestial objects are in a way or another.