A cosmic baby is discovered, and it's brilliant

Astronomers tend to have a slightly different sense of time than the rest of us. They regularly study events that happened millions or billions of years ago, and objects that have been around for just as long. That's partly ...

What are magnetars?

In a previous article, we crushed that idea that the Universe is perfect for life. It's not. Almost the entire Universe is a horrible and hostile place, apart from a fraction of a mostly harmless planet in a backwater corner ...

A new theory of magnetar formation

Magnetars are neutron stars endowed with the strongest magnetic fields observed in the universe, but their origin remains controversial. In a study published in Science Advances, a team of scientists from CEA, Saclay, the ...

Chandra observations reveal extraordinary magnetar

In 2020, astronomers added a new member to an exclusive family of exotic objects with the discovery of a magnetar. New observations from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory help support the idea that it is also a pulsar, meaning ...

VLBA makes first direct distance measurement to magnetar

Astronomers using the National Science Foundation's Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) have made the first direct geometric measurement of the distance to a magnetar within our Milky Way Galaxy—a measurement that could help ...

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Magnetar

A magnetar is a type of neutron star with an extremely powerful magnetic field, the decay of which powers the emission of copious amounts of high-energy electromagnetic radiation, particularly X-rays and gamma rays. The theory regarding these objects was proposed by Robert Duncan and Christopher Thompson in 1992, but the first recorded burst of gamma rays thought to have been from a magnetar was detected on March 5, 1979. During the following decade, the magnetar hypothesis has become widely accepted as a likely explanation for soft gamma repeaters (SGRs) and anomalous X-ray pulsars (AXPs).

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