New matter discovered in space

Laws of astronomy and quantum physics may have to be rewritten as two teams of scientists discover bizarre new matter.

The discovery was made by two observation laboratories in the USA, the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysics Center and the Columbia University, New York. The former observed a space object called RXJ1856, discovering that it was too small and cold to be classified as a star.

Astronomers calculate that the RXJ1856 has a diameter of 19.2 kilometres and a temperature of 666,000 degrees Celsius. This would point towards this star not being composed by neutrons (dense elementary particles) but by strange quark matter, as explained by Professor Jeremy Drake.

The Columbia University observed another space object, the neutron star 3C58 and found that it had a surface temperature of under 1 million degrees Celsius, far below what was thought to be the norm for a neutron star. Professor David Helfand stated that this temperature violates the current theory about neutron stars and poses fundamental questions about the material 3C58 consists of.


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