Scientists find evidence of the oldest state of matter lurking inside neutron stars

Astrophysicists have found evidence of a strange substance called quark, which lies at the heart of the dense star. Using recent theoretical calculations and measurements of gravitational waves from neutron star collisions, the researchers found that the largest neutron stars are likely to have “quark nuclei.” In normal matter, elementary particles called quarks exist only inside protons and neutrons. However, if normal matter is affected by extreme temperatures, or gathers together at very high densities, it will “melt” together, allowing the quark to roam freely anywhere inside the substance. This strange new state is called quark matter.

Scientists find evidence of the oldest state of matter lurking inside neutron stars

It is thought that in the 20 microseconds or so after the Big Bang, a strange substance called quark-gluon plasma filled the universe, acting like an incomparablely hot liquid, which, when cooled, became the conventional substance that is now flooded with the universe. Now, the only place you can find quark matter is (briefly) in the particle collision of the Large Hadron Collider — and perhaps the core of the neutron star.

When certain stars die, their cores collapse, becoming black holes or neutron stars. In the latter case, the new object would “cram” a city-sized space larger than the sun. Obviously, this has produced some extreme density substances that have long been theoretically turned into quark son.

In the new study, researchers from the University of Helsinki now claim that the “quark nucleus” has been identified in all neutron stars. Especially the neutron stars with the highest mass and more than twice the mass of the sun. It was previously thought that the mass of two suns was the absolute upper limit of neutron stars — a little larger mass, and the original star would collapse into a black hole. But astronomers recently discovered that a small number of neutron stars are over the limit.

Scientists find evidence of the oldest state of matter lurking inside neutron stars

According to new research, it is in these stars that the “quark nucleus” can be found. In some cases, the quark nucleus may even account for more than half of the neutron star itself. To come to this conclusion, the team calculated the “state equation” of matter in neutron stars. This equation describes what matter in neutron stars looks based on the relationship between pressure and energy density.

Astronomers have recently shed more vibe celia to how big and mass neutron stars can be. In particular, gravitational waves from collisions between neutron stars have been detected by the Laser Interference Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the Virgo probes in Europe. The information encoded in these signals can reveal a lot about the objects that produce them. Overall, these new data make this study as accurate as possible. The researchers say they are “almost certain” to have found quarks — but they also acknowledge that they may have been wrong. Quark matter is only the most direct explanation.

“The likelihood that all neutron stars will be made up of nuclear matter alone is still small, but not zero,” said Aleski Vuorinen, lead author of the study. “What we have been able to do, however, is quantify what is needed in this situation. Aleski Vuorinen said. “In short, the behavior of dense nuclear material will require real oddity. For example, the speed of sound needs to reach almost the same speed as the speed of light. “More data on neutron stars will help further refine these calculations.

The study was published in the journal Nature-Physics.