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Thread: How can a Neutron Star have carbon atmosphere?

  1. #1 How can a Neutron Star have carbon atmosphere? 
    Forum Masters Degree MrMojo1's Avatar
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    I was following up on a article Sciencedaily.com where thin layer of carbon was identified on Cassiopeia A supernova remnant. It was my understanding that any matter impacting a neutron star became neutrons due to gravitational forces. So how could they, Chandra X-Ray Observatory, identify the atomic spectra of Carbon? Is there a transitional period before atoms are crushed down? Since iron is the element that can not be fused under normal stellar fusion, is it more likely to be some exotic form of iron or another element?

    What I mean by exotic, is Paramagentic Bonding I was initially reading about in on Ars Techinica referring to what Kai K. Lange, E. I. Tellgren, M. R. Hoffmann, and T. Helgaker published. This only creates another question: Are the Paramegentic Bonds stronger than the gravitational forces of a neutron star?



    http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2009/cassio/]ScienceDaily: Help Page
    http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0911.0672

    http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/...1#comments-bar
    A Paramagnetic Bonding Mechanism for Diatomics in Strong Magnetic Fields[/URL]


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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMojo1 View Post
    I was following up on a article Sciencedaily.com where thin layer of carbon was identified on Cassiopeia A supernova remnant. It was my understanding that any matter impacting a neutron star became neutrons due to gravitational forces. So how could they, Chandra X-Ray Observatory, identify the atomic spectra of Carbon? Is there a transitional period before atoms are crushed down? Since iron is the element that can not be fused under normal stellar fusion, is it more likely to be some exotic form of iron or another element?

    What I mean by exotic, is Paramagentic Bonding I was initially reading about in on Ars Techinica referring to what Kai K. Lange, E. I. Tellgren, M. R. Hoffmann, and T. Helgaker published. This only creates another question: Are the Paramegentic Bonds stronger than the gravitational forces of a neutron star?

    http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2009/cassio/]ScienceDaily: Help Page
    [0911.0672] A Neutron Star with a Carbon Atmosphere in the Cassiopeia A Supernova RemnantNew type of chemical bond may form in extreme magnetic fields of stars | Ars Technica
    A Paramagnetic Bonding Mechanism for Diatomics in Strong Magnetic Fields[/URL]
    Neutron-star theory is pretty well accepted but if it is really a neutron star, does the whole star have to be totally neutrons? could the interior just be neutrons with a plasma surface, a carbon atmosphere, etc.? These are all theoretical questions with different theoretical possibilities.

    (quote from link below)
    On the basis of current models, the matter at the surface of a neutron star is composed of ordinary atomic nuclei crushed into a solid lattice with a sea of electrons flowing through the gaps between them.
    Neutron star - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Neutron stars are known to spin very rapidly and to us some appear as pulsars. Their rapid spin might prevent some surface materials from collapsing forming, in this case, maybe a carbon filled thin atmosphere or skin-like surface. Some neutron stars are known to have a surrounding matter torus that could also contain carbon. Some of the stellar supernova ejected material could continue back-falling via gravitational influences. Neutron stars in general are known to have strong magnetic fields which would effect surrounding materials but how this might effect, produce, or maintain a thin surface layer of carbon in this case, I think would just be speculative.

    -- Therefore there would seem to be a number of theoretical possibilities as to why carbon might be observable surrounding this neutron star .


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    Anti-Crank AlexG's Avatar
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    I wouldn't call a thin layer of carbon an atmosphere. I'd call it a thin layer of carbon, and given the gravitational pressure of a Neutron star, it wouldn't surprise me if the carbon were in the form of an incompressable crystaline layer (diamond).
    Its the way nature is!
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    I think it would have melted, and vaporised. Yet held together by the star's huge gravity. Maybe some of the athmosphere has reacted with oxygen or nitrogen?
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

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    Anti-Crank AlexG's Avatar
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    A neutron star's gravitational field is far, far too strong to allow for any gaseous atmosphere. Neutron stars are also cold.
    Its the way nature is!
    If you dont like it, go somewhere else....
    To another universe, where the rules are simpler
    Philosophically more pleasing, more psychologically easy
    Prof Richard Feynman (1979) .....

    Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!"
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    This is a nice little paper that walks through some simple calculations regarding this "diamond atmosphere": http://spacemath.gsfc.nasa.gov/weekly/6Page77.pdf

    Here is a detailed description of the structure of a neutron star: http://www.jinaweb.org/docs/nstar.pdf
    and this is the simple version: Neutron star - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia!
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    Forum Masters Degree MrMojo1's Avatar
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    Within Astronomy, is there a specific definition for the word "atmosphere" or does it have different meaning when applied stars vs planets/moons? If there is a thin layer of liquid crystal carbon on the surface and that is identified as an atmosphere, then are the oceans of Earth considered part of the atmosphere as well?
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    Anti-Crank AlexG's Avatar
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    Hey, how about that. It is diamond.
    Its the way nature is!
    If you dont like it, go somewhere else....
    To another universe, where the rules are simpler
    Philosophically more pleasing, more psychologically easy
    Prof Richard Feynman (1979) .....

    Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!"
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    Forum Professor Zwolver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    A neutron star's gravitational field is far, far too strong to allow for any gaseous atmosphere. Neutron stars are also cold.
    How can a star be cold? I'm thinking like; gravity equals energy, energy equals heat..
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  11. #10  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    How can a star be cold? I'm thinking like; gravity equals energy, energy equals heat..
    They eventually radiate all their heat away and there is no mechanism to generate more heat. Gravity can generate heat by further compressing material, but in a neutron star everything is at maximum compression. Stars generate heat by fusion eactions, but in a neutron star everything is already in its lowest energy state. And so on...
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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