Humanity has spent decades researching the secrets of the void, but the universe is still able to surprise us. One of the most exciting events which take place in space is the formation of neutron stars.
Neutron stars are born from the remnants of old stars which explode and then collapse in the shape of a spear. Unlike most objects, they are incredibly dense, with black holes being the only ones which have a higher density.
A team of researchers has managed to track down the biggest neutron star to date. The object has been classified under the rather odd name of J0740+6620, and it is up to 2.14 times denser than our sun, while the diameter measures 15 miles. It is thicker than other neutron stars which have been observed in the past, and it also pushes the known limit of neutron star masses beyond to twice the mass of the sun.
Astronomers detected the biggest-known neutron stars
The discovery is quite significant as the maximum possible mass for a neutron star has been a mystery for a long while. Some members of the scientific community argue that J0740+6620 could be near the threshold, allowing interested researchers to learn more about the inside processes which influence the existence of neutron stars and how they form in the aftermath of massive explosions.
To be able to find more neutron stars researchers have to improve the models which are used for observing the evolution of stars and supernovae events. The collected at this point infers that J0740+6620 is a pulsar, a specific type of neutron star which can release intense pulses of radiation from the magnetic poles.
Since these pulses are headed towards Earth scientists, have a chance to see it continuously blink, even if it is located at an impressive distance of 4,600 light-years away. The paper has been well-received by the scientific community, and it is available in a recently-published journal.