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New calculation of quark matter properties tells us what an exotic quark-neutron star might look like.

Mapping the phases (Fig. 1) and properties of matter under extreme conditions—such as the highest achievable pressures and densities—is a major ongoing project in nuclear and particle physics [1]. At ultrahigh pressures (where the baryon density is significantly higher than the nuclear density), but at temperatures that are not too high (T100 MeV), researchers expect a rich phase diagram with exotic forms of matter, including quark matter where quarks are no longer bound into separate baryons [2]. However, investigating matter in this regime presents substantial experimental and theoretical challenges.

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