Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick
mckitterick

Astro-image of the day: nearest neutron star

Cool. We've just identified a neutron star that lives not far away:

Click the image for the full story.

These things are damned cool. Imagine an object heavier than our Sun (as much as 2-3 times as massive), but contained in a sphere about the size of a small Earth city. Because it's so massive yet so compact, the gravity fields surrounding it as you approach in your age-worn spaceship become so immense that tidal forces between your head and feet could tear you apart.

Y'all read Niven's Neutron Star, right? Or at least Ringworld? (I do believe that story is part of the book, isn't it? If not, well, they're conflated in my mind.) Excellent dramatization of what it would be like to approach one of these monsters.

Best,
Chris
Tags: astronomy
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