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Some Answers

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Posted by Nick Mostek/">Nick Mostek on April 8, 1997 00:28:23 UTC

1) an electron cloud is the region around an atom that contains electrons. When a star collapses, all the atoms bunch so close together that their electron clounds almost overlap. But electron degeneracy says that these electron cannot occupy the same space at the same time. So a star less than 8 solar masses will collapse to this state, called a white dwarf. Neutrons are a part of the nucleus of the atom. They do not occupy a "region" around an atom, they are more like a single point.2)If a star has greater than 8 solar masses, it collapses beyond the cloud of the electron. The electrons get "pushed" into the nucleus and intothe protons. (protons have a + charge, electrons have a - charge, so they attract) When the electron and proton collide, they make a neutron(no charge). So what is left of all the atoms in the star is nothing but neutrons-a neutron star.3)When the neutron degeneracy takes over, the collapsing star stops, but the outside layers keepcollapsing. The sudden stop causes the outer layers to "bounce" away with great energy, causinga supernova. (to show this, hold a tennis ball overa basketball and drop them at the same time. The tennis ball will bounce away with great force.)What is left after the supernova is a neutron star,which often is rapidly rotating from the explosion.Radio signals eminate from the poles of the star asit rotates, making it "pulse" in radio waves- a pulsar.If you have any more questions, feel free to e-mailme.

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