Warm pasta helps hot, angry neutron stars cool down

Neutron stars are the angry ghosts of giant stars: hot, whirling cores of exotic matter left behind after supernovas. Like thermoses filled with hot noodle soup, it takes eons for them to cool down. But now, researchers think they know how these stars do it: with a giant helping of pasta.

No, these ultradense stellar corpses aren’t filled with spaghetti. Instead, neutron stars cool down by releasing ethereal particles known as neutrinos. And the new study shows they accomplish that task thanks to an in-between type of matter known as nuclear pasta, a ripply, coiled material in which atoms almost, but don’t quite, mush together. This nuclear pasta structure creates low-density regions inside the stars, allowing neutrinos, and heat, a way out.

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