Rare And Cool

  • Released Thursday, June 13, 2013

A neutron star is the compact, spinning structure that’s left over after a massive star explodes. Roughly a billion exist in the Milky Way galaxy. In the core of one of these neutron stars is evidence of a rare form of matter known as a superfluid. Laboratory experiments show that superfluids have the ability to rapidly conduct heat. For a decade, scientists using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory monitored the temperature of the neutron star within Cassiopeia A, a supernova remnant located 11,000 light-years from Earth. To their surprise, they found the neutron star was cooling unusually fast. In fact, the researchers determined that the drop in temperature could be explained if the neutron star had a superfluid core. Watch the video to learn more.


Please give credit for this item to:
Science@NASA and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Cover image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/MPIA
Cassiopeia A image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech
Chandra image courtesy of NASA/CXC/UNAM/Ioffe/D.Page, P. Shternin et al
Illustration courtesy of NASA/CXC/M.Weiss

Release date

This page was originally published on Thursday, June 13, 2013.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:52 PM EDT.