Researchers have managed to determine the strength of what lies at a neutron star’s core and discovered that it’s the strongest substance in the known universe. The calculations that led to this discovery were the largest ever neutron star crust related simulations to have been run so far, and they produced exceptionally useful data on how exactly do neutron star crusts collapse.
According to Matthew Caplan, the exact strength of a neutron star’s crust is a figure that is relevant to many problems that astrophysicists are currently dealing with, but unfortunately there is very little that we know about these stars at the moment.
A neutron star gets formed a supernova implodes, think of something as huge as our sun suddenly begin compressed to the size of Montréal. Meaning that neutron stars are incredibly dense, so dense that their own gravitational force solidifies their outer surface while their core remains liquid. Structurally, neutron stars slightly resemble the Earth, they have a solid outer body and a liquid core, however, these stars are a trillion times denser than our planet.
The insane level of gravity acting on these stars causes their high density Layers to form unique structures that scientists have begun referring to as Nuclear Pasta. Underneath a neutron star’s crust, there are all kinds of competing forces at work, these forces act on the star’s material and causes it to get arranged in flat layers and long cylinders.
The flat layer structure is called lasagna and the cylindrical one is called spaghetti, but one should not take these names too literally, these structures are incredibly robust due to their shapes and due to the environment in which they are formed.
It took an insane amount of computational power to run the simulations that allowed scientists to deform and stretch the materials that exist within a neutron star’s core. The results of this study gave scientists a better idea of how a star’s crust behaves.
Furthermore, these results may also allow scientists to understand gravitational waves better, which can be a major leap since the collision between two neutron stars that was observed last year. Another thing that scientists realized after conducting this study was that single neutron stars might have the ability to create small gravitational waves as well.
Caplan stated that the environment within a neutron star’s crust is incredibly fascinating since there are all kinds of physics occurring with extreme conditions all around them. He believes that by developing a better understanding of a neutron star’s physical properties, scientists may be able to test a number of models and theories that could provide them with invaluable information.
This study alone has provided us with enough data to take another look at various problems and come up with better solutions for them, Caplan hopes that these results will provide answers for previously unanswered questions and overall allow scientists to further explore the mysteries of the universe, finding more questions and more answers for them.