Hugh Bollinger
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Neutron stars sure are weird

When I was a kid growing up in LA, I read heaps of science fiction literature before studying environmental science in college and then going into business. I couldn't get enough of writers like Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, and so many others. The 1950s are now considered the "golden era" of the genre, but I would have read their stories no matter what. The worlds they conjured excited me to no end, and they still entice readers, filmmakers and scientists today. Some of the strangest worlds imagined by the early SciFi writers were quasars, pulsars, black holes, and neutron stars. Back in the day, these celestial bodies were just theoretic predictions of astronomical mathematics and scientific conferences. They were proven to actually exist as more observational and detection technology became available. NASA has now added to this collection of these bizarre objects by discovering a "cooling neutron star" using the Chandra space telescope. These results represent the first observational evidence for this bizarre state of matter, where its x-ray emissions are seen declining in strength with each observation. Here's an artist concept: [caption id="attachment_3273" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="cooling neutron star image credit: NASA"][/caption] If they were still alive, I bet Messieurs Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein would be racing to their old Smith Corona typewriters to craft a really cool SciFi story from this discovery. WHB
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