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Distant, spiral-shaped stars provide clues to the forces that bind subatomic particles



Distant, spiral-shaped stars provide clues to the forces that bind subatomic particles

The physics of large nuclei can be studied by measuring “signs”

; in which tidal resonances between merging neutron stars cause the solid crust of the neutron star to break.Image source: University of Bath

Space scientists at the University of Bath in the UK have discovered a new method for detecting the internal structure of neutron stars, providing nuclear physicists with a novel tool to study the structure of matter at the atomic level.

Neutron stars are death stars, they are compressed by gravity to the size of small cities. They contain the most extreme matter in the universe, which means they are the densest objects in existence (for comparison, if the earth is compressed to the density of a neutron star, then its diameter will be only a few hundred meters, and all humans will fit A teaspoon). This makes neutron stars a unique natural laboratory for nuclear physicists, whose understanding of the forces that bind subatomic particles is limited to their work on atomic nuclei connected to the earth. Studying how this force behaves under more extreme conditions can deepen their knowledge.

Stepping into the ranks of astrophysicists, they set their sights on distant galaxies to unlock the mysteries of physics.

In a study Monthly Bulletin of the Royal Astronomical SocietyBass astrophysicists discovered that when two neutron stars rotate toward a violent collision, their moving speeds become faster and faster, which provides clues to the composition of neutron stars. Based on this information, nuclear physicists will be in a better position to calculate the forces that determine the structure of all matter.

resonance

The Bath team discovered it through resonance. When a force is applied to an object at a natural frequency, resonance occurs, resulting in large, usually catastrophic, vibrational motion. An example of resonance is found when an opera singer breaks the glass by singing loudly at a frequency that matches the vibration pattern of the glass.

When a pair of inhaling neutron stars reaches resonance, their solid shells (believed to be 10 billion times stronger than steel) will shatter. This results in a burst of bright gamma rays that can be seen by satellites (called resonance fragmentation). The spiral-shaped stars also release gravitational waves, which can be detected by instruments on the earth. The Bass researchers found that by measuring flares and gravitational wave signals, they can calculate the “symmetry energy” of a neutron star.

Symmetry energy is one of the characteristics of nuclear matter. It controls the ratio of subatomic particles (protons and neutrons) that make up the nucleus and how that ratio changes when subjected to the extremely high densities found in neutron stars. Therefore, the reading of the symmetry energy will give a powerful indication of the composition of the neutron star, and then give the coupling process of all protons and neutrons and the forces that determine the structure of all matter.

The researchers emphasize that the measurement results obtained by using a combination of gamma rays and gravitational waves to study the resonance of neutron stars will complement, not replace, nuclear physicists’ laboratory experiments.

Dr. Tsang Yinquan, a Bass astrophysicist, said: “By studying neutron stars and the catastrophic final motion of these massive objects, we can understand certain things that make up the tiny nuclei of extremely dense matter.” “The huge difference in scale is very impressive. Fascinated.”

Duncan Neill, a student in charge of the research with a PhD in Astrophysics, added: “I like that this work focuses on the same thing that nuclear physicists are studying. They focus on tiny particles, and our celestial bodies Physicists look at objects and events millions of light years away. We are looking at the same thing in a completely different way.”

Astrophysicist Dr. Will Newton, a commercial and project collaborator at Texas A&M University, said: “Although we know the force that binds quarks to neutrons and protons, when a large number of neutrons and protons gather together, its The actual effect is not very clear. Experimental nuclear physics data helps to seek a better understanding, but all the nuclei we probe on Earth have similar numbers of neutrons and protons, which are bound together at roughly the same density.

“In neutron stars, nature provides us with a completely different environment for exploring nuclear physics: matter mainly composed of neutrons has a wide range of densities, up to ten times the density of atomic nuclei. In this article, we show This shows how we can measure a certain property of this matter from a distance of hundreds of millions of light-years-symmetrical energy. This can clarify the basic working principle of nuclei.”


Even if it looks like a white dwarf, is there a way to detect a quark star?


More information:
Duncan Neill and others, “Resonant Fragmentation Spot as a Multi-messenger Probe for Nuclear Symmetric Energy”, Monthly Bulletin of the Royal Astronomical Society (2021). DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stab764

Provided by the University of Bath



Citation: Distant spiral stars provide clues to the forces that bind subatomic particles (April 1, 2021), this is April 2, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-04-distant- Spiralling-stars-clues-sub retrieved-atomic.html

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