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Neutron Stars

Artist's impression of a neutron star
Credit: Casey Reed/Penn State University

A neutron star is the incredibly compact core that remains after a supernova event.

When a high-mass star comes to the end of its lifetime, its outer layers collapse onto the core, compressing material to the point where the atoms are smashed apart, leaving only neutrons - sub-atomic particles with no electric charge.

The outer layers are then ejected in a super-massive explosion, leaving a rapidly spinning neutron star behind. Some neutron stars have been found to rotate at several hundred times a second.

A neutron star can weigh the same as one or two Suns and yet will only be about 20 km across. For comparison, a matchbox of neutron star material would weigh the same as the country of Wales. A house of it would weigh the same as the Moon.


Please note that over the weekend of the 26-29th May 2017 we will be switching over to our brand new website - during this time there may be periods where the site is difficult to access, and users will be unable to request observations from the telescope. Please bear with us during this time. All should be back up and running by the 30th May 2017.