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MAGNETAR

Key Highlights:

  • Experts speculate that it could be a neutron star or a tiny white object, the fallen cores of stars with a powerful magnetic field, also known as a magnetar. 
  • As it spins through the cosmos, the ‘spooky’ object sends a ray of light, and one minute out of 20, it is one of the brightest objects in the night sky.
  • It releases an enormous explosion of energy three times an hour.

About the Team:

  • Astronomer Dr Natasha Hurley-Walker, of Curtin University led a team that discovered this. 
  • Her team was mapping radio waves all over the place when they encountered possible ‘magnetar’.

What is a magnetar?

  • Magnetar is a type of neutron star with a solid magnetic field. The decay of the magnetic field is a powerful source of electromagnetic radiation, especially gamma rays and X-rays.

Neutron stars:

  • Neutron stars are the collapsed, burnt-out cores of dead stars.
  • A neutron star usually has a mass that’s perhaps half a million times the mass of the Earth. But they’re only about 20 kilometres across.

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