Astronomers using the Green Bank Telescope in Pocahontas County have discovered a massive neutron star. Scientists believe this is the largest neutron star ever discovered.
Neutron stars, sometimes called pulsars, are the compressed remains of stars that have exploded into a supernova. Supernovas occur when stars reach the end of their life and explode into a powerful burst of light and energy.
Neutron stars are one of the most dense objects in the universe, second only to black holes. But little else is known about the interior of one of these stars. Just a single sugar-cube worth of neutron star material would weigh 100 million tons on earth. That’s about the same as the entire human population.
The recently discovered star is about 4,600 light years from earth. According to a press release from the Green Bank Observatory, this neutron star approaches “the limits of how massive and compact a single object can become without crushing itself down into a black hole.”
Astronomers at the W.Va. telescope plan to continue studying this particular neutron star, and what it might reveal about the nature of spacetime.