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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

University of Alberta Physicist identifies a young neutron star

A physicist from the University of Alberta in Edmonton  is part of a team that has identified a neutron star left over from a supernova first observed over 330 years ago.

Physicist Craig Heinke (pictured)

and his associate Wynn Ho at the University of Southampton, U.K., both agree that the remnant of the supernova Cassiopeia A is a very young neutron star, 20 times heavier than the sun, but only 20 kilometres wide.

Here is a photo of the   The supernova remnant Cassiopeia A as seen by the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. The blue dot in the centre of the image is identified as a young neutron star. (Source of image: NASA/CXC/Southampton/W. Ho)

A neutron star can be defined as "  a massive star which  goes through a supernova and all remaining particles within the star collapse." (source:  term "supernova"  refers to " the death explosion of a massive star, resulting in a sharp increase in brightness followed by a gradual fading. At peak light output, supernova explosions can outshine a galaxy. The outer layers of the exploding star are blasted out in a radioactive cloud. This expanding cloud, visible long after the initial explosion fades from view, forms a supernova remnant (SNR)." (source:

"The majority of a neutron star, according to predictive models, is composed of neutrons, hence the name. Sir James Chadwick discovered the neutron as an elementary particle in 1932, earning the 1935 Nobel Prize in Physics for this work. Astronomers Walter Baade and Fritz Zwicky proposed the existence of a neutron star as early as 1933. In their prediction, the release of gravitational binding energy in the formation of a neutron star is what powers the visible supernovae. A typical neutron star is between 30,000 to 70,000 times smaller than the sun, but much more massive, reaching up to over twice the mass of the sun.  (source:

Source of photo of Craig Henke:

Source of original article:

Here are two interesting  videos which explains how a neutron star is formed:

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.