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An X-Ray image of a supernova remnant and its central neutron star
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ROSAT satellite image courtesy of NASA

Neutron Stars

Neutron Stars form when really big stars die. When such a star runs out of fuel its center begins to collapse under gravity. When the center collapses the entire star collapses. The surface of the star falls down until it hits the center. It bounces off t he hardened core and blows up in a supernova. What is left behind is the collapsed core, a Neutron Star or sometimes a Black Hole.

An average neutron star is the size of a small city. But it may have the mass of three suns. It is very dense. One spoonful of neutron star material on Earth would weigh as much as all the cars on Earth put together. Weird!

Last modified May 6, 2008 by Randy Russell.

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The Summer 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist, available in our online store, includes articles on rivers and snow, classroom planetariums, satellites and oceanography, hands-on astronomy, and global warming.

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