NEW FEATURE: VOTE & EARN NEATOPOINTS!
Submit your own Neatorama post and vote for others' posts to earn NeatoPoints that you can redeem for T-shirts, hoodies and more over at the NeatoShop!


11

Astronomers Might Have Witnessed The Birth of A Magnetar

Astronomers might have witnessed, for the first time ever, the birth of a magnetar when two neutron stars collided and merged into one massive object. However, this is only a possibility, and scientists say that other explanations for the phenomenon are possible.

Astrophysicist Wen-fai Fong of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and colleagues first spotted the site of the neutron star crash as a burst of gamma-ray light detected with NASA’s orbiting Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory on May 22. Follow-up observations in X-ray, visible and infrared wavelengths of light showed that the gamma rays were accompanied by a characteristic glow called a kilonova.
Kilonovas are thought to form after two neutron stars, the ultradense cores of dead stars, collide and merge. The merger sprays neutron-rich material “not seen anywhere else in the universe” around the collision site, Fong says. That material quickly produces unstable heavy elements, and those elements soon decay, heating the neutron cloud and making it glow in optical and infrared light…
[...]
Observing how the object’s light behaves over the next four months to six years, Fong and her colleagues have calculated, will prove whether or not a magnetar was born.

More about this story over at ScienceNews.

(Image Credit: NASA, ESA, D. PLAYER/STSCI / ScienceNews)


Newest 2
Newest 2 Comments

Magnetars are pretty friggin' scary. A starquake on one that was 50,000 light years away gave off so much energy that it slightly compacted Earth's magnetic field and briefly dazzled a satellite that was scanning for gamma ray sources!
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.




Email This Post to a Friend
"Astronomers Might Have Witnessed The Birth of A Magnetar"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.

 

Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
 
Learn More