HOUSTON (CW39) NASA’s last telescope to reach the stars since it was first installed in June or 2017. The images it has returned with are breathtaking. Now he’s captured a star that’s about to turn into a black hole!
We’re talking about NASA’s NICER telescope. Sitting safely above the International Space Station, it collects data from its perch. Its goal, to study matter, which makes up everything we can see in the universe. This is important because scientists don’t know how it behaves in the heart of a neutron star, where it lingers on the verge of becoming a black hole. Neutron stars are remnants of exploded massive stars that weren’t large enough to turn into black holes, instead what remains are city-sized nuclei with more mass than our Sun. Thanks to NASA’s NICER telescope, scientists are now one step closer to understanding these strange objects.
Scientists recently announced that they are using data from NICER to measure the size of the most massive neutron star ever discovered. It is more than double the mass of the sun but is only 16 miles in diameter, which is not much larger than Manhattan Island!
NASA’s Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer provides high-precision measurements of neutron stars, objects containing ultra-dense matter on the brink of black hole collapse. NICER will also test, for the first time in space, a technology using pulsars as navigation beacons. For more information on NASA’s NICEER telescope, visit NASA website.
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