Neutron Star (Encyclopedia of Science)
A neutron star is the dead remnant of a massive star. A star reaches the end of its life when it uses up all of its nuclear fuel. Without fuel, it cannot undergo nuclear fusion, the process that pushes matter outward from the star's core and provides a balance to its immense gravitational field. The fate of a dying star, however, depends on that star's mass.
A medium-sized star, like the Sun, will shrink and end up as a white dwarf (small, extremely dense star having low brightness). The largest starshose more than three times the mass of the Sunxplode in a supernova and then, in theory, undergo a gravitational collapse so complete they form black holes (single points of infinite mass and gravity). Those stars larger than the Sun yet not more than three times its mass will also explode in a supernova, but will then cave in on themselves to form a densely packed neutron star.
Origin of a neutron star
A neutron star is formed in two stages. First, within a second after nuclear fusion on the star's surface ceases, gravity crushes the star's atoms. This forces protons (positively charged particles) and electrons (negatively charged particles) together to form neutrons (uncharged particles) and expels high-energy subatomic particles called neutrinos. The star's core, which started out about the size of Earth, is compacted into a sphere less than 60...
(The entire section is 755 words.)
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