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Jack Oughton - Quark Star Journal

Jack Oughton - Quark Star Journal

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Published by: Jack Oughton on May 30, 2010
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What is a Quark Star?
A quark star is a hypothetical neutron star with a core of superdense strange quark matter. The basic principle is that thematter within a quark star is more densely packed, even thannuclear matter. This ‘squashed’ area is thought to be composed of free quarks, or crystallized [material arranged into a lattice] sub-nuclear particles, rather than neutrons.To understand a quark star, we must consider a neutron star.The most compact
solid
objects in the universe known to exist areneutron stars; 16 miles across and about 1.5 times as massive asour Sun. The density is perhaps a thousand million million tons per cubic metre,1000 million million times that of water.(Moore 0,p.269) (Spacedaily.com 2008)
A neutron star is the result of an area of space, with extremely highmass, and small volume. They are usually formed by thegravitational collapse of a giant star at the end of a supernova.This collapse is caused when the star can no longer sustain tqheprocesses that counteract the crushing effects of gravity on themass of the star. (Odenwald n.d.)The theory is that within this collapsing star, gravitational pressureis high enough to overcome the nuclear bonds that repel normalmatter, creating
neutron degenerate matter;
where
 
electrons fusewith protons, creating a substance consisting of nothing butneutrons. This is a ‘typical’ neutron star.A hypothetical upper limit to this mass is the
Tolman-Oppenheimer-Volkoff limit
, and mass more concentrated thanthis is thought to degenerate into quark matter, or collapse into ablack hole. Many scientists believe that there would be
no
neutronto quark phase change, and that such objects would collapseimmediately into black holes(Seggewiss & de Boer 2009, p.233)
 Anyone who has seen ice melt has seen matter change phases,and when electrons, atoms and other specs of matter changequantum phases, they 
behave just as differently as do ice and water in a glass.
“ -
(Hulet 2006)
 Quark stars are the product of the ‘
strange matter 
’ hypothesis.The protons and neutrons of normal matter in the everyday worldare made of two types of quark –‘up’ and ‘down’. This baryonic
 
matter is the most predominant form of matter we experience, andit is matter than includes atoms of any sort.A quark star can be seen as a single gigantic hadron (a proton or neutron), but consisting of many quadrillions of quarks rather thanthe typical three, which comprise a ‘normal’ hadron. (Annisimovn.d.)
 Strange matter 
, however, is composed of up, down,
and
strangequarks. Its properties are thought to be different from normalmatter. Strange matter is expected to be colour superconducting.This means that it’s constituent quarks form ‘cooper pairs’. Thesepairs
only
interact with quarks from their flavour (type); so ‘up’ pair with ‘up’ and so on(Mark Alford et al. 1998). Like the matter in aneutron star this is a degenerative state, and can only beovercome by
additional
gravitational pressure. This pressurecauses a collapse into the next (and hypothesized final) state of matter, a black hole.The problem with strange matter is that it has not yet beenaccepted hypothetically, let alone physically observed.
"Strange matter may exist or it may not…It's not proventheoretically - it's an open issue." 
(Shiga 2007)
How would a Quark Star form?
Certain neutron stars more massive than the Tolman-Oppenheimer-Volkoff limit break down their neutron degeneratematter into its constituent parts;
up quarks
, and
down quarks
.Some of these quarks
possibly
become
strange quarks
(adifferent flavour), and create strange matter.
Calculations suggest that at sufficiently high temperatures or  pressures.. the baryons and mesons either smash into each other so hard, or get so severely squashed, that they burst open. Theresult should be a soup of free quarks and gluons..
(Baez 1998)This strange matter behaves differently to neutron degeneratematter;
In a neutron star, it is the degeneracy pressure between neutronsthat keeps the body from collapsing into a black hole - in a quark star, it is the pressure between quarks
.(Annisimov n.d.)
 
How would we detect a quark star?
Quark stars would be hard to distinguish from neutron stars, in partbecause the strange quark matter could be enveloped in a shell of normal matter(Minkel 2002)But, there are a number of ways that we could detect quark star 
candidates
.
Over-dense Neutron Stars
Quark stars that appear to be too ‘small’ in size for their massimply that some of their matter is packed tighter than nuclear matter, and although we have no direct
observational
evidence of a quark star yet, a number of overly dense neutron stars havebeen put forward as candidates.RX J1856.5-3754(Drake et al. 2002), a neutron star located inCorona Australis, and 3C 58, a pulsar located in Cassiopeia,initially appeared too heavy and hot. However later re-examinations challenged this hypothesis(Slane et al. 2004).
Quark Novae / Super Luminous Supernovae -
Another theory suggests that the conversion from a neutron star toa quark star creates a release of energy similar to the release in asupernova event that formed the neutron star.
The transformation.. blasts the neutron star's outer layers intospace at close to light speed. The layers then slam into debris fromthe original supernova, creating an intense glow bright enough toexplain the observations of SN 2006gy 
” -
Rachid Ouyed 
(Shiga2007)”
This could be an explanation for ‘super luminous supernovae’;
SN 2006gy
is a super luminous supernova remnant
,
two to threetimes brighter than the previous record holder for the brightestsupernova, it is now considered a quark star candidate because of this. (Shiga 2007)These energetic explosions also could be responsible for themysterious ‘Gamma Ray Burst’ phenomena(Bombaci 2006, p.208)
Magentars:
Magnetars are a class of neutron star with an extremely powerfulmagnetic field. The effect of this field is a star that generates

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