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中子星:像山一样大的原子 – 译学馆
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中子星:像山一样大的原子

Atoms As Big As Mountains — Neutron Stars Explained

中子星是宇宙中最极端的事物之一
Neutron stars are one of the most extreme things in the universe.
它们像巨大的原子核
They’re like giant atom cores.
直径有数千米长 令人难以置信的稠密和猛烈
Kilometers in diameter, unbelievably dense and violent.
那么中子星是一种怎样的存在呢?
But how can something like this even exist?
恒星的稳定主要依靠两种力的相互平衡
The life of a star is dominated by two forces being in balance.
即自身的重力以及聚变反应的辐射压力
its own gravity and the radiation pressure of its fusion reaction.
在恒星的中心 氢聚变为氦
In the core of stars, hydrogen is fused into helium.
最终 核心中的氢会被耗尽
Eventually, the hydrogen in the core is exhausted.
如果恒星的质量已足够大 那么氦就会聚变为碳
If the star is massive enough, helium is now fused into carbon.
这些巨大恒星的核心开始像洋葱一样分层
The cores of these massive stars become layered like onions
同时中心形成的原子核变得越来越重
as heavier and heavier atomic nuclei build up at the center.
碳聚变成氖 氖变成氧 氧变成硅
Carbon is fused into neon, which leads to oxygen, which leads to silicon.
最终聚变为铁 铁不能再聚变成其他元素
Eventually, the fusion reaction hits iron, which cannot fuse into another element.
当聚变停止 辐射压力迅速下降
When the fusion stops, the radiation pressure drops rapidly.
恒星不再处于平衡状态
The star is no longer in balance
如果其核心质量超过大约1.4个太阳的质量
and if its core mass exceeds about 1.4 solar masses
就会发生一场灾难性的坍缩
a catastrophic collapse takes place.
核心外围部分以每秒70000千米的速度
The outer part of the core reaches velocities of up to 70,000 km/s
向整个恒星的中心坍缩
as it collapses towards the center of the star.
此时 只有原子内部的基本作用力来抵抗引力的崩塌
Now, only the fundamental forces inside an atom are left to fight the gravitational collapse.
克服了电子的量子力学斥力
The quantum-mechanical repulsion of electrons is overcome
电子和质子融合成中子
and electrons and protons fuse into neutrons
并像原子核一样紧密地结合在一起
packed as densely as an atomic nucleus.
恒星的外层在一场剧烈的超新星爆炸中被抛向太空
The outer layers of the star are catapulted into space in a violent supernova explosion.
一颗中子星就这样形成了
So, now we have a neutron star!
其质量介于太阳质量的1到3倍
Its mass is between 1 and 3 Suns
但其宽度却被压缩到了约25千米
but compressed to an object about 25 kilometers wide!
这个小球的质量是地球质量的50万倍
And 500,000 times the mass of Earth, in this tiny ball
直径大约与曼哈顿相同
that’s roughly the diameter of Manhattan.
中子星的密度非常大 一立方厘米的质量
It’s so dense that one cubic centimeter of neutron star
与边长700米的铁立方质量相同
contains the same mass as an iron cube 700 meters across.
相当于10亿吨重的珠穆朗玛峰
That’s roughly 1 billion tons, as massive as Mount Everest
被置于一块方糖大小的空间之内
in a space the size of a sugar cube.
中子星上的重力也令人印象深刻
Neutron star gravity is pretty impressive, too.
如果你在距离地面1米的地方投下一个物体
If you were to drop an object from 1 meter over the surface
它会在1微秒内落地
it would hit the star in one microsecond
并且其速度会达到720万千米/时
and accelerate up to 7.2 million km/h
中子星的地面非常平坦 最大的起伏不超过5毫米
The surface is superflat, with irregularities of 5 millimeters maximum
它还拥有一层由热等离子体构成的超薄大气
with a superthin atmosphere of hot plasma.
表面温度约为100万开尔文
The surface temperature is about 1 million kelvin
而太阳的表面温度只有5800开尔文
compared to 5,800 kelvin for our Sun.
我们来看看中子星的内部
Let’s look inside the neutron star.
中子星的外壳极其坚硬
The crust is extremely hard
很可能由铁原子核晶格和漂流在其中的电子构成
and is most likely made of an iron atom nuclei lattice with a sea of electrons flowing through them
离核越近 中子会越来越多而质子会变得越来越少
The closer we get to the core, the more neutrons and the fewer protons we see
最终成为难以辨别的极其稠密的中子汤
until there’s just an incredibly dense soup of indistinguishable neutrons.
中子星的核心非常非常奇怪
The cores of neutron stars are very, very weird.
我们不确定它们的性质是什么
We are not sure what their properties are
但我们最可靠的猜测是超流体中子简并态物质
but our closest guess is superfluid neutron degenerate matter
或者是一些被称为夸克—胶子等离子体的超密夸克物质
or some kind of ultradense quark matter called quark-gluon plasma.
从传统角度来看 这丝毫就没有任何道理
That does not make any sense in the traditional way
因为它只存在于这样的超极端环境当中
and can only exist in such an ultraextreme environment.
在许多方面 中子星与巨大的原子核相似
In many ways, a neutron star is similar to a giant atom core.
而最重要的不同是
The most important difference is
原子核是质子通过强相互作用聚集在一起构成的
that atom cores are held together by strong interaction
而中子星是由于重力的作用
and neutron stars by gravity.
如果这一切还不够极端
As if all this wasn’t extreme enough
那就让我们来看看它其他的一些性质
let’s take a look at a few other properties.
中子星的自转速度非常之快
Neutron stars spin very, very fast
年轻的中子星每秒可旋转数周
young ones several times per second
如果附近有一颗可怜的恒星被中子星吸取能量
And if there’s a poor star nearby to feed the neutron star
那中子星的自转速度就可达到每秒数百周
it can rotate up to several hundred times per second.
比如编号为PSRJ1748-2446ad的天体
Like the object PSRJ1748-2446ad.
它的自转速度约为2.52亿千米/时
It spins at approximately 252 million km/h.
如此快的自转速度导致中子星的形状变得相当奇怪
This is so fast that the star has a rather strange shape.
我们把这些中子星称为脉冲星
We call these objects pulsars
因为它们放射出强烈的无线电信号
because they emit a strong radio signal
中子星的磁场
And the magnetic field of a neutron star
大约比地球的磁场强8万亿倍
is roughly 8 trillion times stronger than the magnetic field of Earth.
磁场强大到能够弯曲进入其影响范围的原子
So strong that atoms get bent when they enter its influence.
好了 我想我们对这个问题已经有所了解了
Okay, I think we got the point across.
中子星是宇宙中最极端
Neutron stars are some of the most extreme
但也是最酷的天体之一
but also some of the coolest objects in the universe
希望有朝一日 我们能够发射飞船进一步了解它们
Hopefully, we will one day send spaceships to learn more about them
并获取一些清晰图像
and take some neat pictures
但我们可不能离它太近
But we shouldn’t get too close.

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视频概述

中子星是宇宙中存在的一种特殊的天体,拥有超大的密度。中子星是怎样形成的,又有哪些性质呢?本视频将给你答案。

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翻译译者

jameschan

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视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZW3aV7U-aik

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