Saturday Morning Physics
Light of The Living Dead: The Remarkable Radiation from Neutron Stars
A neutron star is a stellar corpse remaining from the cataclysmic explosion (supernova) that marks the death of a giant star. These tiny but massive remnants are roughly 100 trillion times denser than ordinary matter and, as a result, produce radiation that is equally extraordinary. Neutron star radio wave pulses rival in precision the best atomic clocks on Earth, while their X-ray and gamma-ray bursts can flash brighter than ten trillion suns. In the future these "living dead" stars are expected to yield our first signal for that most ghostly of radiation known as gravitational waves.