Neutron Star Animations

  • Released Wednesday, April 26, 2017
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The Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) mission will study neutron stars, the densest known objects in the cosmos. These neutron star animations and graphics highlight some of their unique characteristics.

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A neutron star begins its life as a star between about 7 and 20 times the mass of the sun. When this type of star runs out of fuel, it collapses under its own weight, crushing its core and triggering a supernova explosion. What remains is an ultra-dense sphere only about the size of a city across, but with up to twice the mass of the sun squeezed inside.

This stylized animation shows the structure of a neutron star. The states of matter at neutron stars' inner cores remains a mystery.

NICER will confront nuclear physics theory with unique measurements, exploring the exotic states of matter within neutron stars through rotation-resolved X-ray spectroscopy.

Animation of a spinning neutron star in space. Neutron stars are directly observable, usually as “pulsars” – the lighthouses of the cosmos.

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Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

Release date

This page was originally published on Wednesday, April 26, 2017.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 12:24 AM EST.


This visualization is related to the following missions: