[I was ready to post this, but it seems too remedial after seeing a couple of new, quality posts. But then again, this may also serve as an analgoy of lower level degeneracy. What level of pedagogary do you want to be at? ]
It sounds to me like y'all are saying the gravitational force becomes so strong that it squeezes the atoms so much that, first, electrons get smashed into the nucleus and merge with the proton, creating all neutrons. Then, as the star shrinks further, and the gravity becomes more impressive (sorry), the neutrons don't really have any place to go, so they take their place, though, I suspect, they are pounding each other more than a little. Even, at times, when some neutrons break apart into protons and electrons, they will quickly recombine back into neutrons. [Is this close?]
Would two opposing magnets being forced mercilessly into each other with enough impact to neutralize their magnetic behavior be a useable analgoy?
Pauli with his Exclusion Principle, as per Nereid, is very helpful and intuitive concept.
It may be important to get a small handle on the degree of [gravitational] force on a neutron star. For instance, it is proposed that a neutron star may have an outer crystalline mantle. Mountains might exist on this solid structure lunging outward, possibly as high as several centimeters. So, how much more energy would be required to climb these mountains as opposed to, say, Mt. Everest (using a simplistic E=gh potential energy equation)? The answer gives some umph to the forces involved, at least for me.
[Added: Per NASA page..."a neutron star possesses a surface gravitational field about 2 x 10^11 times that of Earth"]
Last edited by George; 2006-Dec-29 at 04:01 PM.
We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.