When very large stars burn up in supernovae, they can produce some of the types of black holes found throughout the Milky Way, but the initial stars needed to reach three solar masses to create the conditions needed to form black holes.
Therefore, not all stars become black holes at the end of their life cycle. Instead, many medium to large stars can implode into something called a neutron star, which is described as a dense sphere with a strong gravitational pull toward its core, which is many times smaller than the star that created it, but full of Neutrons, packed so tightly together create an uncomfortable and highly unstable state. Unlike black holes, light from neutron stars cannot escape from them, but they are still visible to the naked eye. And the subject of greatest interest to some astrophysicists may be stored deep within the core of a neutron star.
Strange matter is speculated to form at the center of a neutron star.
The ongoing process of nuclear burning within the star’s core prevents gravity from compressing the star’s mass inward. And once the star’s hydrogen supply is exhausted and the aforementioned nuclear burning process becomes unsustainable, gravity takes control of the wheels. When that happens, the star’s excess material explodes in all directions — it’s a supernova — and one of two things happens.
The gravitational force exerted by the sun’s surface, forced smaller by outside pressure, can convert the remaining stellar core into a black hole. If the core is strong enough to withstand the otherwise “severe” force, the remaining electrons and protons can be overcompressed into neutrons, creating a neutron star. Conditions could be so tight, however, that the subatomic quarks that put everything together could completely break the laws of nuclear physics.
Most subatomic particles are made up of combinations of three quarks, called hadrons. In most cases, quarks tend to be inseparable from each other, but this may not always be the case within neutron stars, where quarks are so packed together that they may exist in a “soup” where free-form upper and lower Quarks may move independently. In 2004, researchers at Cornell University hypothesized that the internal conditions of neutron stars could give way to hyperons, a type of particle that includes strange quarks; a quark that is atomically so “perfect” that it It effortlessly converts the quarks around it into strange quarks to form strange matter.
Strange quarks can transform everything in sight
Not only does exotic matter have the ability to devour any particle it comes in contact with to pack more quarks into the quark “soup,” but it is said to travel beyond the core of a neutron star without changing its properties. It could even turn entire stars and planets into exotic matter, potentially discovering “exotic” strange planets and white dwarfs, the researchers suggest. A neutron star fully transformed into exotic matter would be called a strange quark star.
According to research from Cornell University in 2019, the primary dispersion of exotic matter from strange quark stars may occur in collisions between one or more strange quark stars in the form of fragmented strangeons. But what will happen then? Some researchers believe that if a strangeon came into contact with Earth’s atmosphere, the strange properties of its atomic composition would allow it to turn everything on Earth into exotic matter, a process that would instantly kill all life on Earth.