Physicists hit on mathematical description of superfluid dynamics: As a neutron star rotates, the superfluid on the surface behaves quite differently than a liquid would on the surface of the Earth. As the rotational speed increases the fluid opens a series of small vortices. As the vortices assemble into triangular patterns, the triangles build a lattice structure within the superfluid.
"When you reach the correct speed, you'll create one vortex in the middle," Bulgac said. "And as you increase the speed, you will increase the number of vortices. But it always occurs in steps."