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Q & A: neutron star stability

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Most recent answer: 12/19/2011
Q:
A free neutron decays in approximately 14.7 minutes. A neutron star is composed of neutrons not bound up in an atomic nucleus. Why does a neutron star last longer than 14.7 minutes?
- Jeff Opalach (age 18)
Macedonia,Ohio.USA
A:
Those neutrons in the neutron stars aren't close to being free. They're crammed in tightly with the other neutrons, held in by gravity. That stabilizes them.

Mike W.

(published on 12/19/2011)

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