45: Biggest Neutron Star Ever!

Neutron stars are weird — big balls of super-dense, stupidly energetic, rapidly rotating nuclear splodge. They're stars that, after running out of fusion fuel, have collapsed beyond the Quantum Electron Squashing Limit (a real thing), and have entered the Quantum Neutron Squooshing Regime (also a real thing). But there's a limit to how big they can be ... and, in an amazing series of coincicdences, astronomers have just found a neutron star so close to that limit, it makes us wonder if something weird's going on.

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Syzygy is produced by Dr Chris Stewart and co-hosted by Dr Emily Brunsden from the Department of Physics at the University of York.

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Things we talked about in this episode:

The Nature Astronomy paper

NASA’s site on neutron stars, pulsars and magnetars

Video on white dwarf stars by Kurzgesagt

Electron degeneracy

Chandrasekhar and his Limit

The 100m Greenbank Radio Observatory

Degenerate matter

Jocelyn Bell Burnell and LGM-1

Neutron star limit, known as the Tolman-Oppenheimer-Volkoff limit