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Abrams Planetarium Night Sky Chat: Neutron Stars and Pulsars!

Dr. Abbie Stevens
September 30, 2020
110

Abrams Planetarium Night Sky Chat: Neutron Stars and Pulsars!

This talk was given as part of the Abrams Planetarium Night Sky Chats on September 30th, 2020. Note that gifs and videos won't render in this pdf.

Watch a video of the talk and accompanying pulsar craft here! https://www.facebook.com/AbramsPlanetarium/videos/427375928234639

More about neutron stars and pulsars: https://abigailstevens.com/outreach/neutron-stars-and-pulsars/

Dr. Abbie Stevens

September 30, 2020
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Transcript

  1. Neutron stars
    and Pulsars!
    Dr. Abbie Stevens
    Abrams Planetarium
    Night sky chat

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  2. Image: R.N. Bailey, CC BY 4.0, WikiMedia
    2
    2
    Life cycle of a star

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  3. Neutron star
    • Leftover when a massive star (10-20x as big as our Sun)
    dies in a supernova
    Watts+16
    Image credit: ESA / HST / L. Calcada / NASA GSFC

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  4. Neutron star
    • Leftover when a massive star (10-20x as big as our Sun)
    dies in a supernova
    • About 15 miles across, with 1.5x the mass of the Sun!
    Watts+16
    Image credit: Google maps

    View full-size slide

  5. Neutron star
    • Leftover when a massive star (10-20x as big as our Sun)
    dies in a supernova
    • About 15 miles across, with 1.5x the mass of the Sun!
    • Their average density is equal to the density of an atomic
    nucleus!
    Watts+16
    Image credit:
    Watts+16

    View full-size slide

  6. Neutron star
    • Leftover when a massive star (10-20x as big as our Sun)
    dies in a supernova
    • About 15 miles across, with 1.5x the mass of the Sun!
    • Their average density is equal to the density of an atomic
    nucleus!
    Watts+16
    Image credit:
    Watts+16

    View full-size slide

  7. Neutron star
    • Leftover when a massive star (10-20x as big as our Sun)
    dies in a supernova
    • About 15 miles across, with 1.5x the mass of the Sun!
    • Their average density is equal to the density of an atomic
    nucleus!
    • VERY strong gravity: acceleration at surface is
    100,000,000,000x stronger than on Earth
    Watts+16
    Image credit: JBO/John Rowe Animation

    View full-size slide

  8. Neutron star
    Photo credit: F.E.Austin
    • Leftover when a massive star (10-20x as big as our Sun)
    dies in a supernova
    • About 15 miles across, with 1.5x the mass of the Sun!
    • Their average density is equal to the density of an atomic
    nucleus!
    • VERY strong gravity: acceleration at surface is
    100,000,000,000x stronger than on Earth
    • Has a magnetic field 1 billion – 1 quadrillion times
    stronger than Earth’s

    View full-size slide

  9. Neutron star
    • Leftover when a massive star (10-20x as big as our Sun)
    dies in a supernova
    • About 15 miles across, with 1.5x the mass of the Sun!
    • Their average density is equal to the density of an atomic
    nucleus!
    • VERY strong gravity: acceleration at surface is
    100,000,000,000x stronger than on Earth
    • Has a magnetic field 1 billion – 1 quadrillion times
    stronger than Earth’s
    • Spin on their axis up to
    100’s of times per second!
    Watts+16
    Image credit: Warner Bros.

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  10. Image credit: NASA/CXC/K. Divona

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  11. PULSAR
    • A neutron star with a very strong magnetic field
    Watts+16 Image credit:
    Mysid/R. Smits
    Magnetic
    field lines
    (invisible!)

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  12. PULSAR
    • A neutron star with a very strong magnetic field
    • Shines bright beams of light out of its north and south
    magnetic poles
    Watts+16
    Video credit: NASA

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  13. Fancy PULSAR
    Some types of pulsars might have a twisted magnetic field
    structure, so they might have multiple poles in different
    shapes and locations!
    Watts+16
    Video credit: NASA

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  14. PULSAR
    • A neutron star with a very strong magnetic field
    • Shines bright beams of light out of its north and south
    magnetic poles
    • Beams of light + spinning = pulses (like a lighthouse)
    Watts+16
    Kramer gif
    Image credit: M. Kramer; H.Craft/P.Saville

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  15. Studying pulsars in
    space
    Image credit: NASA
    NICER: Neutron star Interior
    Composition ExploreR

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  16. Studying pulsars in
    space
    Video credit: NASA

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  17. Supernova remnants
    • Gas from outer layers of exploding star heating up as it
    hits ambient space dust
    Watts+16
    Image credit: NASA/CXC/SAO

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  18. Supernova remnants
    • Gas from outer layers of exploding star heating up as it
    hits ambient space dust
    Watts+16
    Image credit:
    NASA/CXC/RIKEN &
    GSFC/T. Sato+ & DSS
    Image credit: NASA/CXC/SAO

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  19. Supernova remnants
    • Gas from outer layers of exploding star heating up as it
    hits ambient space dust
    Watts+16
    Image credit:
    NASA/ESA/HST

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  20. Pulsar wind nebulae
    • Energetic particles from the pulsar collide with the
    ambient space dust
    Image credit:
    NASA/CXC/SAO/F.Seward &
    ESA/ASU/J.Hester & A.Loll; &
    JPL-Caltech/UMinn./R.Gehrz

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  21. Pulsar wind nebulae
    • Energetic particles from the pulsar collide with the
    ambient space dust
    Image credit:
    NASA/ESA/STScI/F.Summers+;
    CXC/SAO/N.Wolk+ &
    Caltech/IPAC/R.Hurt

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  22. Pulsar wind nebulae
    • Energetic particles from the pulsar collide with the
    ambient space dust
    Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/McGill

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  23. • PBS Crash Course Astronomy on neutron stars
    • Chandra X-ray Observatory
    • NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Media Studios
    Further learning resources

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