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Strange Stars? Odd features hint at novel matter

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11:40am, April 17, 2002

Exotic forms of matter never observed before in the wild may have turned up in the remnants of two collapsed stars, according to new findings publicized last week by NASA.

At an April 10 briefing at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., researchers argued that observations by the orbiting Chandra X-Ray Observatory indicate that the astronomical object dubbed RXJ1856.5-3754 may lack the neutrons, protons, and electrons of ordinary matter. Another object, 3C58, may contain odd forms of matter surrounded by neutrons.

Since its discovery in 1996, astronomers had thought that RXJ1856 was a neutron star, a stellar cinder composed almost solely of neutrons. Now it appears the star may be a more bizarre–and up

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