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Homework Help: What can we say about neutron stars?

  1. Jan 12, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    About neutron stars we can say that:

    a) They are newborn stars
    b) They are generated when a Solar-type star dies
    c) They are generated when a very massive star dies
    d) They are in the main sequence

    2. Relevant equations


    3. The attempt at a solution

    I'm quite sure that a) and d) are false because a neutron star is a type of stellar remnant.

    I think that the correct answer would be c), that is, only very massive stars can produce a neutron star.

    I'd be very happy if anyone could confirm this.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 12, 2013 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    One of the things this sort of test is training you for is to be able to do problems where nobody knows the answer ... so you cannot ask for confirmation. You need to get used to figuring out what the correct answer is from the resources at your disposal.

    What might you use to decide the truth of your answer - and, more importantly, your reasoning/understanding? Is this the sort of thing you already have notes on for a course or may be available in a quick internet search?
  4. Jan 13, 2013 #3
    What do you mean I cannot ask for confirmation? Of course I can. Do you think that if I had notes on this I'd be asking here? After a couple hours of reading on the internet about a topic I'm not very familiar with, I was pretty sure the correct answer is c), but I was hoping someone more knowledgeable than me could confirm it so I could be "absolutely" certain.

    Thank you for your time, but I think you shouldn't write anything if you are not going to be helpful.
  5. Jan 13, 2013 #4
  6. Jan 13, 2013 #5


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    You can in this case, but what about trickier questions? Or even questions where no answer is known yet? If you read Simon Bridge's post carefully, he wrote about "test", "training you for", ...

    I would expect that the wikipedia article about neutron stars (+the article about the main sequence) rules out a, b and d, and even gives you a minimal mass for a star to become a neutron star, which confirms c.
    And wikipedia is not the type of source which is available for actual research.
  7. Jan 13, 2013 #6
    Thank you, that's all the confirmation I needed.

    English is not my native language, so I apologize if I sounded rude and I misinterpreted Simon's post.
  8. Jan 14, 2013 #7

    Simon Bridge

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    If nobody knows the right answer before you, you cannot get confirmation from anyone else that your answer is (or is not) correct.

    In this particular case, you have supplied me with enough information for me to work out that you already have the required skills to figure out, for yourself, if you are right or not. For some reason you were unwilling to do so - perhaps you did not know how or lacked confidence? One of the things we try to do here is empower people to have confidence in their own abilities - which includes realizing their limitations - and overcoming them.

    That's what I was trying to do with you - and thanks everyone for the support.
    Don't worry that you misunderstood: most people do. It is unlikely that you have encountered this approach often enough yet.
    English, on the other hand, does not seem big limitation for you: you write and comprehend better than most native speakers. When I saw your reply I immediately reread what I wrote and realized I could have been clearer - my apologies for that, but I didn't really expect you'd "get it" first time through - I just hoped to give you some pause for additional thought.

    The others have illustrated quite nicely the sort of thing I was hoping for.
    You have great resources at your disposal - not the least of which is your own intellect.
    The goal is to get you used to using it - you are smarter than you think.
    The trick is to have fun :)
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