Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First evidence of a new phase in neutron stars

Date:
June 13, 2013
Source:
Asociación RUVID
Summary:
The nuclear ‘pasta’, called as such due its similarity to the Italian food, limits the period of rotation of pulsars, and astronomers have detected the first evidence of existence of a new phase of matter in the inner crust of neutron stars.

Artistic representation of a neutron star. The layer of "nuclear pasta" would be located in the innermost crust, near the core.
Credit: Image courtesy of Asociación RUVID

The nuclear 'pasta', called as such due its similarity to the Italian food, limits the period of rotation of pulsars, and the University of Alicante has detected the first evidence of existence of a new phase of matter in the inner crust of neutron stars.

A study led by the University of Alicante, in which in the National Research Council (CSIC) has participated, has detected what may be the first observational evidence of existence of a new exotic phase of matter in the inner crust of neutron stars (pulsars).

The latest issue of Nature Physics shows the results of a research project that addresses one of the unknowns in the field of X-ray pulsars, the existence of a limit higher than 12 seconds in the rotation periods of isolated neutron stars. This limit is actually due to the existence of new exotic phases of matter. Pulsars are neutron stars (ultracompact and strongly magnetized stars) in rotation, which emit electromagnetic radiation with amazing precision in their periodicity.

Lasagna or spaghetti?

As José A. Pons says, lecturer at the University of Alicante's Relativistic Astrophysics Group and Director of the Department of Applied Physics, who led the work: "This may be the first observational evidence of existence of the phase of nuclear 'pasta' inside neutron stars, which may allow that future missions of X-ray observatories can be used to define aspects of how nuclear interaction works, which is not yet entirely clear."

Nuclear Pasta, named for its resemblance to the Italian pasta, occurs when the combination of nuclear and electromagnetic forces, at densities close to the atomic nuclei, favours the ordering of the nucleons (protons and neutrons) in non-spherical shapes , as sheets or filaments (lasagna or spaghetti).

Daniele Viganň, a doctoral student at the University of Alicante notes that "the pulsars are born spinning very quickly, more than 100 times per second. However, their strong magnetic fields slow them down during their life, which increases the rotation period. Meanwhile, the inner crust corrodes the star's magnetic field and when it becomes weak, it is unable to further slow down the rotation of the star: the pulsar is "al dente," with a period of about 10-12 seconds."

Historically, radio pulsars (those detected in radio waves) were known to have a limit spin period with no theoretical explanation. Normally, this limit is thought to be a simple observational effect: those with slower rotation are less bright in radio and can not be observed. "Space missions in the past decade have identified a growing number of isolated X-ray pulsars, and to our surprise, none of them has a rotation period longer than 12 seconds, but there was no theoretical explanation for this phenomenon," Nanda Rea, a CSIC researcher, from the Institute of Space Sciences (Barcelona) explains.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Asociación RUVID. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. José A. Pons, Daniele Viganň, Nanda Rea. A highly resistive layer within the crust of X-ray pulsars limits their spin periods. Nature Physics, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/NPHYS2640

Cite This Page:

Asociación RUVID. "First evidence of a new phase in neutron stars." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130613092210.htm>.
Asociación RUVID. (2013, June 13). First evidence of a new phase in neutron stars. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130613092210.htm
Asociación RUVID. "First evidence of a new phase in neutron stars." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130613092210.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

AP (July 23, 2014) — The Progress 56 cargo ship launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Wednesday. NASA says it will deliver cargo and crew supplies to the International Space Station. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

AP (July 22, 2014) — A Russian Soyuz cargo-carrying spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station on Monday. The craft is due to undergo about ten days of engineering tests before it burns up in the Earth's atmosphere. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

AP (July 21, 2014) — NASA honored one of its most famous astronauts Monday by renaming a historic building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It now bears the name of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Newsy (July 19, 2014) — Neil Armstrong gained international fame after becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. But what was his life like after the historic trip? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:  

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile iPhone Android Web
          Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins