Download 14-1 Reading Questions: Neutron Stars

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14-1 Reading Questions: Neutron Stars
Use pages 296 – 308 to answer the following questions about neutron stars
1. A neutron star, containing a little more than _________ solar mass, compressed to a radius of about
__________, can be left as a remnant after a type ______ supernova explosion. A neutron star’s
density is so high that physicists calculate that this material is stable only as a
___________________________. Theory predicts that such an object would spin _____________
times per second, have a surface temperature nearly as hot as the ___________ interior, and possess a
magnetic field a ________________ times stronger than Earth’s.
2. How are neutron stars similar to white dwarfs in how they are supported?
3. How is a neutrino formed and what role does it play in a supernova?
4. Theoretical calculations suggest that stars that begin life on the main sequence with masses in the
range of __________________ will leave behind neutron stars. Stars even more massive than that are
thought to form _____________________.
5. The most widely accepted calculations suggest that a neutron star cannot be more massive than about
____________. If a neutron star were more massive than that, the _________________________
would not be able to support the weight; the object would _________________ and presumable
become a black hole.
6. What is the mass and density of a neutron star?
7. Why are neutron stars spinning so fast?
8. Why do neutron stars have such a strong magnetic field?
9. Summarize the three points of the lighthouse model of pulsars.
10. The average pulsar is estimated to be only a few _________________ years old, and the oldest are
about _______ million years old. Presumably, older neutron stars rotate _____________________ to
generate detectable beams.
11. Roughly __________ of the energy flowing away from a pulsar is carried as a pulsar __________ of
high-speed atomic particles. This can produce small, high-energy ____________ near a young pulsar.
12. Page 302 contains the statement “…most pulsars are not in supernova remnants and many supernova
remnants do not contain pulsars.” Give two reasons why this might be the case.
13. Holy cow…read the paragraph about “gravitational radiation” (come on, Einstein!) Why is the orbital
period of the binary pulsar slowly growing shorter?
14. What would happen to an astronaut stepping onto the surface of a neutron star? What about if you
dropped an apple onto the surface of a neutron star?
15. Describe X-Ray Bursters.
16. Why are millisecond pulsars oblate in shape?
17. Give two reasons why pulsar planets are probably not actual “planets”.
18. So what ARE they, then? (give three possibilities)