So today it's the 80th anniversary that the Neutron was discovered:
Discovery of the Neutron: The first hint of the neutron's existence came in 1930, when Walther Bothe and H. Becker found that when alpha radiation fell on elements like lithium and boron a new form of radiation was emitted. Initially, this radiation was believed to be a type of gamma radiation, but it was more penetrating than any known gamma radiation. Work by Irene Joliot-Curie and Frederic Joliot in 1932, though not disproving the gamma radiation hypothesis, did not particularly support it either. In 1932, James Chadwick proved that these results couldn't be explained by gamma rays and proposed an alternate explanation of uncharged particles approximately the same size as a proton. He was able to experimentally verify this conjecture and thus prove that the neutron existed.
and surfing the net for info, I came Across this Astronomy Discovery, which I wasn't aware: Neutron Stars, check it out:
Neutron stars are ancient remnants of stars that have reached the end of their evolutionary journey through space and time.
These interesting objects are born from once-large stars that grew to four to eight times the size of our own sun before exploding in catastrophic supernovae. After such an explosion blows a star's outer layers into space, the core remains—but it no longer produces nuclear fusion. With no outward pressure from fusion to counterbalance gravity's inward pull, the star condenses and collapses in upon itself.
Despite their small diameters—about 12.5 miles (20 kilometers)—neutron stars boast nearly 1.5 times the mass of our sun, and are thus incredibly dense. Just a sugar cube of neutron star matter would weigh about one hundred million tons on Earth.
A neutron star's almost incomprehensible density causes protons and electrons to combine into neutrons—the process that gives such stars their name. The composition of their cores is unknown, but they may consist of a neutron superfluid or some unknown state of matter.
Neutron stars pack an extremely strong gravitational pull, much greater than Earth's. This gravitational strength is particularly impressive because of the stars' small size.
When they are formed, neutron stars rotate in space. As they compress and shrink, this spinning speeds up because of the conservation of angular momentum—the same principle that causes a spinning skater to speed up when she pulls in her arms.
These stars gradually slow down over the eons, but those bodies that are still spinning rapidly may emit radiation that from Earth appears to blink on and off as the star spins, like the beam of light from a turning lighthouse. This "pulsing" appearance gives some neutron stars the name pulsars.
After spinning for several million years pulsars are drained of their energy and become normal neutron stars. Few of the known existing neutron stars are pulsars. Only about 1,000 pulsars are known to exist, though there may be hundreds of millions of old neutron stars in the galaxy.
The staggering pressures that exist at the core of neutron stars may be like those that existed at the time of the big bang, but these states cannot be simulated on Earth.
The first direct observation of a neutron star in visible light. The neutron star is RX J185635-3754.
In 1934, Walter Baade and Fritz Zwicky proposed the existence of the neutron star, only a year after the discovery of the neutron by Sir James Chadwick. In seeking an explanation for the origin of a supernova, they proposed that the neutron star is formed in a supernova. Supernovae are suddenly-appearing dying stars in the sky, whose luminosity in visible light outshine an entire galaxy for days to weeks. Baade and Zwicky correctly proposed at that time that the release of the gravitational binding energy of the neutron stars powers the supernova: "In the supernova process, mass in bulk is annihilated". If the central part of a massive star before its collapse contains (for example) 3 solar masses, then a neutron star of 2 solar masses can be formed. The binding energy E of such a neutron star, when expressed in mass units via the mass-energy equivalence formula E = mc2, is 1 solar mass. It is ultimately this energy that powers the supernova.
A two solar mass neutron star has a mass equivalent gravitational binding energy of no more than -18.7% (exothermic). A ~2.3 solar mass neutron star with ~10,000 meters radius is the large mass limit of the AP4 model. It would have a relative mass equivalent gravitational binding energy of 24.5%, half of claimed 50% mass equivalent of its observed gravitational mass in the preceding paragraph. Neutron star maximum binding energy under any circumstances cannot exceed 25.2% of its observed gravitational mass.
In 1965, Antony Hewish and Samuel Okoye discovered "an unusual source of high radio brightness temperature in the Crab Nebula". This source turned out to be the Crab Nebula neutron star that resulted from the great supernova of 1054.
In 1967, Iosif Shklovsky examined the X-ray and optical observations of Scorpius X-1 and correctly concluded that the radiation comes from a neutron star at the stage of accretion.
In 1967, Jocelyn Bell and Antony Hewish discovered regular radio pulses from CP 1919. This pulsar was later interpreted as an isolated, rotating neutron star. The energy source of the pulsar is the rotational energy of the neutron star. The majority of known neutron stars (about 2000, as of 2010) have been discovered as pulsars, emitting regular radio pulses.
In 1971, Riccardo Giacconi, Herbert Gursky, Ed Kellogg, R. Levinson, E. Schreier, and H. Tananbaum discovered 4.8 second pulsations in an X-ray source in the constellation Centaurus, Cen X-3. They interpreted this as resulting from a rotating hot neutron star. The energy source is gravitational and results from a rain of gas falling onto the surface of the neutron star from a companion star or the interstellar medium.
In 1974, Antony Hewish was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics "for his decisive role in the discovery of pulsars" without Jocelyn Bell who shared in the discovery.
In 1974, Joseph Taylor and Russell Hulse discovered the first binary pulsar, PSR B1913+16, which consists of two neutron stars (one seen as a pulsar) orbiting around their center of mass. Einstein's general theory of relativity predicts that massive objects in short binary orbits should emit gravitational waves, and thus that their orbit should decay with time. This was indeed observed, precisely as general relativity predicts, and in 1993, Taylor and Hulse were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for this discovery.
In 2003, Marta Burgay and colleagues discovered the first double neutron star system where both components are detectable as pulsars, PSR J0737-3039. The discovery of this system allows a total of 5 different tests of general relativity, some of these with unprecedented precision.
In 2010, Paul Demorest and colleagues measured the mass of the millisecond pulsar PSR J1614–2230 to be 1.97±0.04 solar masses, using Shapiro delay. This is substantially higher than any other precisely measured neutron star mass (in the range 1.2–1.67 solar masses, see PSR J1903+0327), and places strong constraints on the interior composition of neutron stars.
Structure of a Neutron Star:
Sources of Information
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