Detected approximately 4,600 light years from Earth thanks to the observations of the Green Bank telescope, the NANOGrav Physics Frontiers Center has described in a recent study published in Nature which is the most massive neutron star known.
Call J0740 + 6620, it is a rapidly rotating pulsar that contains 2.17 times the mass of the sun (which is 333,000 times the mass of the Earth) in a sphere of only 20-30 kilometers.
Neutron stars are the compressed remains of massive stars that have become supernova.
Beyond the sensation of having reached a record, J0740 + 6620 shows how far it can become a single object without becoming a black hole. What is the turning point when gravity overcomes matter and forms a black hole?Advertising
To assimilate to what extent this star is massive, a fragment of a neutron star the size of a lump of sugar (about a cubic centimeter) it contains the same amount of mass as the entire human population. And gravitational temporal dilation causes the time on the surface of a neutron star to run 30% slower than on Earth.
Pulsar mass was measured through a phenomenon known as the Shapiro Effect. In a nutshell, the gravity of a white dwarf companion star deforms the surrounding space, according to Einstein's general theory of relativity. This makes the pulses of the pulsar travel a little more as they travel through distorted spacetime around the white dwarf. This delay tells them the mass of the white dwarf, which in turn provides a measurement of the neutron star's mass.