HOUSTON (CW39) NASA’s latest telescope has been reaching for the stars since it was first installed back in June or 2017. The images it has come back with have been breathtakings. Now, it’s captured a Star on the verge of becoming a Black Hole!
We’re talking about NASA’s NICER Telescope. It’s the only one of its kind. Sitting securely on top of the International Space Station, it collects data from its perch. It’s 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 threshold of becoming a black hole. Neutron stars are leftovers of exploded massive stars that weren’t quite big enough to turn into black holes, Instead, what remains are city-sized cores with more mass than our Sun. Thanks to NASA’s NICER telescope, scientists are now a step closer to understanding these strange objects.
Scientists recently announced that they used data from NICER to measure the size of the most massive neutron star yet. It has more than twice the Sun’s mass but is only about 16 miles across that’s not much bigger than the island of Manhattan!
NASA’s Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer provides high-precision measurements of neutron stars, objects containing ultra-dense matter at the threshold of collapse into black holes. NICER will also test, for the first time in space, technology that uses pulsars as navigation beacons. For more information on NASA’s NICEER Telescope Visit the NASA Website.