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When stars die, depending on their size, they can collapse into a black hole or neutron star, both of which seemingly defy the laws of physics.
The density and gravity of black holes and neutron stars are so great that they produce mind-boggling effects.
While studying a neutral star called “M82 X-2,” astronomers at NASA discovered ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs) that are more than 100 times brighter than the laws of physics should allow them to be.
A law of physics called the “Eddington limit” says there is a limit determining how bright an object can be based on its size. If the limit is exceed, the objects is expected to “blow into pieces,” astronomers noted.
NASA said this discovery of ultraluminous X-rays “regularly exceeds this limit by 100 to 500 times.” Scientists are “puzzled,” NASA added.
M82 X-2, a neutron star, formed after the collapsed core of a massive supergiant star, which had a total mass of between 10 and 25 solar masses (10-25 times bigger than our Sun).
Neutron stars can spin as fast as 43,000 times per minute and over 600 times per second.
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Theories over why M82 X-2 is breaking the Eddington limit involve intense magnetic fields around the neutron star, which may change the shape of its atoms. This would allow the star to stick together and get increasingly more bright.
“These observations let us see the effects of these incredibly strong magnetic fields that we could never reproduce on Earth with current technology,” study author Matteo Bachetti said in a statement regarding the research. “This is the beauty of astronomy … we cannot really set up experiments to get quick answers; we have to wait for the universe to show us its secrets.”
ULXs are not the only strange thing happening in space that has scientists stumped. In May 2022, “something weird” was uncovered in our cosmos, related to the universe’s expansion rate that defied the law of physics.
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