The strangest stellar phenomena known to science

The Weirdest Stars in the Universe: The strangest stellar phenomena known to science

There are billions of trillions of stars spattered across a vast universe, most of which we will never be able to see. Of the ones we can, many are long dead, their light only now reaching us after traveling for eons through space. These ancient twinkles allow us to glimpse the universe as it looked billions of years ago, helping us read the timeline of its evolution.

The most familiar star to us, our main-sequence yellow dwarf sun, naturally seems “typical” to us whereas others might seem more alien. Some stars are blue or white or red—although never green or violet, for reasons both optical and astrophysical. Some burn out in massive detonations visible clear across the cosmos; others fade away, thought to leave behind planet-size carbon corpses crystallized into diamond. Many stars—perhaps most, it turns out—are in one respect or another rather weird.

Neutron stars, for example, are some of the smallest and densest stars in the universe. They form when massive stars explode in supernovae, each leaving behind a core that collapses in on itself and squeezes electrons and protons together into neutrons. Sometimes neutron stars are so dense they collapse into black holes. And one hypothesis suggests that if they are not dense enough, they may turn into “strange stars,” made of even smaller subatomic particles called quarks.

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