The largest magnetic fields in the universe

Jul 26, 2013
An instability triggered in the interior of a hypermassive neutron star can lead to gigantic magnetic fields before the star collapses to a black hole. Credit: Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics/D. Siegel

An ultradense ("hypermassive") neutron star is formed when two neutron stars in a binary system finally merge. Its short life ends with the catastrophic collapse to a black hole, possibly powering a short gamma-ray burst, one of the brightest explosions observed in the universe.

Short gamma-ray bursts as observed with satellites like XMM Newton, Fermi or Swift release within a second the same amount of energy as our galaxy in one year. It has been speculated for a long time that enormous strengths, possibly higher than what has been observed in any known astrophysical system, are a key ingredient in explaining such emission. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute/AEI) have now succeeded in simulating a mechanism which could produce such strong magnetic fields prior to the collapse to a black hole.

How can such ultrahigh magnetic fields—stronger than ten or hundred million billion times the Earth's magnetic field—be generated from the much lower initial neutron star magnetic fields?

This could be explained by a phenomenon that can be triggered in a differentially rotating plasma in the presence of magnetic fields: neighboring plasma layers, which rotate at different speeds, "rub against each other," eventually setting the plasma into turbulent motion. In this process called magnetorotational instability magnetic fields can be strongly amplified. This mechanism is known to play an important role in many astrophysical systems such as and core-collapse supernovae. It had been speculated for a long time that magnetohydrodynamic instabilities in the interior of hypermassive neutron stars could bring about the necessary magnetic field amplification. The actual demonstration that this is possible has only now been achieved with the present numerical simulations.

The scientists of the Gravitational Wave Modeling Group at the AEI simulated a hypermassive neutron star with an initially ordered ("poloidal") magnetic field, whose structure is subsequently made more complex by the star's rotation. Since the star is dynamically unstable, it eventually collapses to a black hole surrounded by a cloud of matter, until the latter is swallowed by the black hole.

These simulations have unambiguously shown the presence of an exponentially rapid amplification mechanism in the stellar interior—the magnetorotational instability. This mechanism has so far remained essentially unexplored under the extreme conditions of ultrastrong gravity as found in the interior of hypermassive . This is because the physical conditions in the interior of these stars are extremely challenging.

The discovery is interesting for at least two reasons. First, it shows for the first time unambiguously the development of the magnetorotational instability in the framework of Einstein's general theory of relativity, in which there exist no analytical criteria to date to predict the instability. Second, this discovery can have a profound astrophysical impact, supporting the idea that ultrastrong magnetic fields can be the key ingredient in explaining the huge amount of energy released by short gamma-ray bursts.

Explore further: Astronomer confirms a new "Super-Earth" planet

More information: Siegel, D. M., Ciolfi, R., Harte, A. I., Rezzolla, L., "Magnetorotational instability in relativistic hypermassive neutron stars," Physical Review D, 87, 121302(R), 2013. prd.aps.org/abstract/PRD/v87/i12/e121302

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cantdrive85
1.2 / 5 (26) Jul 26, 2013
Exploding double layers, on a fantastic scale is the only legitimate explanation for these powerful explosions. They are unable to consider this option though, the magneto fluid models they use cannot predict nor produce this well known plasma process.
BTW, electric currents produce powerful magnetic fields, not plasma "rubbing on each other". Pathetic, the pseudoscience of the "dark" ages continues...
axemaster
5 / 5 (11) Jul 26, 2013
Such profound genius! What overwhelming intellect! A pillar of the profession! A polished marble column, thrusting boldly into the sky, erupting with a spray of refined truth.

Truly, you must know things the rest of us can scarcely guess at.

http://en.wikiped...elusions
cantdrive85
1.2 / 5 (22) Jul 26, 2013
Such profound genius! What overwhelming intellect!

Well, shucks. I don't know what to say. If I only knew how to do a red faced emoticon on here.
A pillar of the profession!

Not really a professional, more of an interested bystander forced to pay taxes to support junk science.
A polished marble column, erupting with a spray of refined truth.

A polished marble counter top would be more appropriate, that's the type of business I own, but I'm not sure how a counter would erupt with truthiness.
Truly, you must know things the rest of us can scarcely guess at.

You do not need to "scarcely guess at" anything whatsoever, it's called learning. I hear it's the number one cure for ignorance.
http://en.wiki..elusions

The grand delusion is that these magnetic fields exist without the causal electric currents. We don't need to get into the grand delusion on neutron stars, DM, the BB, or any number of other delusions that pervade astrophysics.
GSwift7
3.4 / 5 (15) Jul 26, 2013
Exploding double layers, on a fantastic scale is the only legitimate explanation for these powerful explosions. They are unable to consider this option though, the magneto fluid models they use cannot predict nor produce this well known plasma process. BTW, electric currents produce powerful magnetic fields, not plasma "rubbing on each other". Pathetic, the pseudoscience of the "dark" ages continues


You should totally email them.

Maybe you should start a petition on facebook to get these morons to accept the obvious truth.

Just make sure you include the following link when you email them; it's probably the best explanation of plasma cosmology I have ever seen:

http://en.wikiver...disorder

The grand delusion is that these magnetic fields exist without the causal electric currents. We don't need to get into the grand delusion on neutron stars, DM, the BB, or any number of other delusions that pervade astrophysics


yeah, so take that!
hemitite
3.3 / 5 (14) Jul 26, 2013
cant & axe,

Please consider how whiny you might sound in your disdain for those who perhaps know a bit more about this sort of physics than you do.

The very short duration and extreme energy of these sorts of gamma ray bursts - like a monsterus flash bulb - can very well be explained by the sudden disconnect and reconnect of the field lines of the intense magnetic field hypothesized above. The same thing is now seen as an explanation for energy of solar flares.

So even if this hypothesizes is wrong, it seem at least to be reasonable and in no way deserving of the bitter seeming disrespect you express.
GSwift7
3.5 / 5 (11) Jul 26, 2013
So even if this hypothesizes is wrong, it seem at least to be reasonable and in no way deserving of the bitter seeming disrespect you express


Axe was making fun of cantdrive, not the article, and so am I. Cantdrive is like hemorrhoids; a PITA that won't go away.
GSwift7
3.2 / 5 (11) Jul 26, 2013
The very short duration and extreme energy of these sorts of gamma ray bursts - like a monsterus flash bulb


Okay, now that I've completed my daily dose of cantdrive-bashing, I'm ready to discuss the article at hand.

It's difficult to even conceptualize the event described above. The event would be relativistically short and fast. The material falling in as the black hole forms would accelerate right up to the edge of the speed of light on their way in. This would be violent beyond the scale of a supernova. The particles in there probably get torn into their composite quasi-particles like quarks and gluons as they get stretched around the center of gravity by the strong field effects.

According to the work above, this looks like a self-organizing system, like a tornado or hurricane, at relativistic speed and force. Hard to imagine this kind of violence.
GSwift7
3 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2013
like a monsterus flash bulb


lol, like the most totally awesome, ultimate, one-time-use, permanently disposable flash bulb.

I wonder how far out the kill zone goes around these? Good thing they aren't common.
cantdrive85
1.2 / 5 (18) Jul 26, 2013
"Magnetic reconnection is pseudoscience" Hannes Alfven

I think we've gone over this, "field lines" are merely a mathematical construct to visualize the vector field, they cannot "be reified into 3-D material objects".

This may help put any notion of "magnetic merging/reconnection", "open field lines", or "frozen-in fields" in the pseudo dustbin they belong;
'Real Properties of Electromagnetic Fields and Plasma in the Cosmos' by Dr. Don Scott IEEE
http://electric-c...2007.pdf
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2013
Just a quick question regarding this statement in the article
Its short life ends with the catastrophic collapse to a black hole, possibly powering a short gamma-ray burst

Why the 'possibly'? What could prevent such an event from producing a very serious gamma ray burst?
GSwift7
2.1 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2013
Why the 'possibly'? What could prevent such an event from producing a very serious gamma ray burst?


It could emit at lower frequency, or the emissions could be red-shifted down before they escape. In that case; "These are not the sources of short gamma ray bursts you are looking for". haha. This is just a model, after all.

Or maybe cantdrive is right and it just emits a giant lightning bolt and a new star is born somewhere in the cosmos. Yeah, I think that's really it. Really. Yeah, really.
SolidRecovery
1 / 5 (10) Jul 26, 2013
stronger than ten or hundred million billion times the Earth's magnetic field

The magnetic field strength of Earth is ~0.50G on the surface. Sun is ~3G. Here we are looking at a couple HUNDRED MILLION BILLION.
lengould100
not rated yet Jul 26, 2013
Wow. The highest magnetic field ever achieved by humans to now was 16 T = 160,000 G (16 T - magnetic field strength required to levitate a frog per the 2000 Ig Nobel Prize in Physics.) or about 10^5 G. This is like 10^(2+6+9) = 10^17 G. When can I get one?
Anyhow
not rated yet Jul 26, 2013
Could anyone calculate the event horizon radius of this new black hole as a proportion of the radius of the merged neutron star, presumably a smaller radius?
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 27, 2013
The highest magnetic field ever achieved by humans to now was 16 T

It's quite a bit higher.

Continuous fields:
45T

Pulsed fields:
Strongest non-destructive magnetic field created in a lab: 100T
Strongest destructive magnetic field created in a lab (destroying magnet but not lab): 730T
Strongest destructive magnetic field created with explosives: 2.8kT

http://en.wikiped...field%29
Anyhow
not rated yet Jul 27, 2013
Let me try again, if the new entity is short lived, the radius of the black hole must be almost identical.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 27, 2013
Could anyone calculate the event horizon radius of this new black hole

Just plug the mass of the object it into the formula.
http://en.wikiped...d_radius

And just because I recently heard someone (in the field!) mispronounce the name so atrociously. It's not "Schwartz-Child", but "Schwartz-schild" (read: 'shwarts-shild' ... meaning: 'black shield')
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (13) Jul 27, 2013
Re: "The very short duration and extreme energy of these sorts of gamma ray bursts - like a monsterus flash bulb - can very well be explained by the sudden disconnect and reconnect of the field lines of the intense magnetic field hypothesized above. The same thing is now seen as an explanation for energy of solar flares.

So even if this hypothesizes is wrong, it seem at least to be reasonable and in no way deserving of the bitter seeming disrespect you express."

I think the problem here is that the inferred mechanism is problematic on a basic logical level: Field lines are mathematical entities -- not physical ones.

Also, if you take a close look at Tom Bridgman's answer to these complaints about the MHD models, you will observe that he does not address them. What he *does* say is that gravity can induce electric fields. But, he never responds to the actual critique that Alfven himself delivered at his Nobel speech, and many times before.

Read the Bridgman links before sharing!
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (12) Jul 27, 2013
Re: "So even if this hypothesizes is wrong, it seem at least to be reasonable and in no way deserving of the bitter seeming disrespect you express."

Cantdrive might be a bit "unprofessional" at times, but so was Socrates. Truth be told, "thinking like a scientist" today is not simply a set of values, but also a collection of ideologies ... Magnetic reconnection being one of them which is increasingly viewed as the mechanism necessary to explain the inverse temperature at the corona. When somebody states rather simply...

"The same thing is now seen as an explanation for energy of solar flares."

...It's important to realize that there is an observational enigma which is driving this inference.

A "professional" is one who simply accepts the box handed to them to do their problem-solving. Critical thinking, by contrast, absolutely involves a process of questioning assumptions. The difference between a talented & mediocre scientist is that s/he can switch between the two, at will.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (12) Jul 27, 2013
What seems evident in reading physorg comments is that people generally don't understand what a professional actually is. The public appears to want to believe that scientists are free to disagree with the assumptions of their discipline, as necessary, and yet few people have apparently taken the time to even take a close look at how we actually train PhD's in physics. The undergrads are oftentimes encouraged to be disagreeable, but the situation reverses in the grad programs. Fred Hoyle, Peter Woit and Jeff Schmidt have all spoken about this situation.

Look at the reviews for Jeff Schmidt's book, Disciplined Minds, and then read the book. Until people pay attention to the physics discipline's largest freedom of expression case in its history, there will be no unification within physics, and history will simply continue to repeat itself. The number of people who set the ideologies/agenda for this type of research can probably be counted on one single hand.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (14) Jul 27, 2013
Re: It's not "Schwartz-Child", but "Schwartz-schild"

Note that Stephen Crothers points out an apparent problem with the assumptions underlying the mathematics for black holes. The black hole universe ...

(1) is spatially infinite
(2) is eternal
(3) contains only ONE mass
(4) is not expanding
(5) and is asymptotically flat

... whereas a Big Bang universe ...

(1) is spatially finite or infinite
(2) is of finite age
(3) contains radiation and many masses
(4) is expanding
(5) and is not asymptotically flat

It's reason to be suspicious of the construct, since these assumptions appear to be blatantly contradictory.

Try Googling "Flaws in Black Hole Theory and General Relativity" ...
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Jul 28, 2013
Re: It's not "Schwartz-Child", but "Schwartz-schild"

This has nothing to do with the math at hand. That Schwartzschild means 'black shield' is not connected to the subject of black holes. Schwartzschild is just the name of the guy who came up with the formula (Karl Schwartzschild, who was a german astronomer)
cantdrive85
1.2 / 5 (13) Jul 28, 2013
Just plug the mass of the object it into the formula.
http://en.wikiped...d_radiusq


I think what HA is pointing out is how the Schwarzschild radius is based in complete fallacy. According to the original paper by Schwarzschild, there can be no black hole, the argument used by relativists for the radius is based entirely on a misrepresentation of black shields and others work.
http://www.ptep-o...2-11.PDF

"Since the mathematicians have invaded the theory of relativity, I do not understand it myself any more." Einstein

It's because those mathematicians expounded upon errors Albert, nobody should be expected to understand gobbledygook.
cantdrive85
1.2 / 5 (13) Jul 28, 2013
This was meant to be included above as well;
http://www.ptep-o...1-10.PDF
GSwift7
1 / 5 (3) Jul 29, 2013
I think the problem here is that the inferred mechanism is problematic on a basic logical level: Field lines are mathematical entities -- not physical ones


Yes and no. While there's not a solid object, there is a physical phenomenon, which the math represents. If you don't like the word "lines" then call them field vectors, which is technically more correct.

EM does 'snap' into place. You can see this when a current flowing in one wire arcs to another wire, or if you have a weak magnet stuck to another weak magnet and you bring in a larger magnet, the small one will jump from the weaker one to the stronger one when they get close enough. This is the concept behind the poorly named reconnection effect. It's not 'reconnecting', but rather changing connections as dominant forces switch from one source to another.
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Jul 29, 2013
If you don't like the word "lines" then call them field vectors, which is technically more correct.

Best way is always to go with a field representation (if you must visualize it then use iso-lines of fieldstrength)

Visualizing with fieldlines is problematic as that requires lines to spantenously start or end where there are no actual sources (in order to keep the density of lines appropriate).

The reconnection phenomenon using the field representation simply happens when you bring two fields together and the point you're looking (which was formerly squarely within field A gets to be right at a local maximum between fields A and B (which is an unstable point. From there it will suddenly shift from the trough of A to the trough of B).
GSwift7
1 / 5 (3) Jul 29, 2013
Visualizing with fieldlines is problematic as that requires lines to spantenously start or end where there are no actual sources (in order to keep the density of lines appropriate).


The other problem with vectors as a visualization tool is that the arrow only depicts the conditions at the starting point, so the actual field strength and polarity changes along its length. That's hard for some people to get.

The reconnection phenomenon using the field representation simply happens when you bring two fields together and the point you're looking (which was formerly squarely within field A gets to be right at a local maximum between fields A and B (which is an unstable point. From there it will suddenly shift from the trough of A to the trough of B).


Yep, exactly. Once the potential from one field excedes the potential of the other, it jumps. This can release energy stored in the difference of potential between them.

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