Could a single neutron star create gravitational waves like the ones that humanity has learned to detect only recently? The theory says that it may, and this does not require a collision with another massive object, but it all depends on the internal structure of the star itself. Scientists from the Universities of McGill, Indiana and California (USA) performed computer simulations and unexpectedly saw what they called "nuclear paste (macaroni)."
A neutron star is formed when, after a supernova explosion, most of the matter from the outer layer of the star scatters, and the core begins to rapidly shrink and compact. Its diameter does not exceed 10 km, but its mass exceeds the mass of the Sun, and monstrous processes are constantly going on inside it, where, under ultrahigh pressure, neutrons acquire hitherto unknown forms. The computer model showed that visually it is most similar to pasta of different types.
The pressure can pull neutron beams into "spaghetti" or crush them into "shells", squeeze them into layered thick sheets of "lasagna", stir into a soufflé structure, or twist round gnocchi dumplings. The shape of the "nuclear paste" depends on dozens of factors, the main of which are temperature, pressure and location inside the star's core. Scientists put a virtual timer in the model for 2 million years and saw as a result a pasta structure of incredible density.
To roughly describe how much the neutrons were compressed, the researchers gave an example - to cut this substance, you need to apply a force 10 billion times higher than for cutting carbon steel. Roughly speaking, this is the most durable matter in the Universe, but here's the paradox - it is still unstable! The instability of the mass of the "nuclear paste" can generate gravitational waves, albeit relatively weak ones, which makes the neutron star even more dangerous and interesting object to study. Scientists hope that new information will help them find many new such cosmic bodies in the near future.