Nuclear explosion in space: Neutron star blast is so rare we may never see one again

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Astronomers say a “hyperburst” nuclear explosion within a neutron star could explain its strange behaviour – but the conditions required to create the explosion are so rare that we will probably never see one again



Space



11 February 2022

Space explosion

An artist’s illustration of an explosion in space

Shutterstock/mik ulyannikov

Astronomers think they have found evidence for an extremely powerful nuclear explosion in space – one so rare that we are unlikely to ever see its like again.

The explosion seems to have taken place inside a strange neutron star located 140,000 light-years from Earth called MAXI J0556–332. Neutron stars are the remnant cores of larger stars that have exploded in supernovas, leaving city-sized objects that contain up to twice the mass of our sun. MAXI J0556–332 was discovered in 2011, …

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