- Astronomers recently discovered the fastest spinning and possibly the smallest magnetic star known.
- This object, known as J1818.0-1607, is about 21,000 light-years away in Milky Way The galaxy.
- Magnetic stars are a special class of neutron stars that possess extremely strong magnetic fields.
- The researchers used Chandra and other telescopes to identify the unusual properties of this object.
In 2020, astronomers added a new member to an exclusive family of UFOs with the discovery of a magnetic star. New notes from NASAThe Chandra X-ray Observatory helps the observatory support the idea that it is, too Pulsar, Which means that it emits regular light pulses.
Magnetism is a kind of Neutron star, An incredibly dense body consisting mainly of tightly packed neutrons, which are formed from the collapsing core of a massive star during a supernova explosion.
What distinguishes magnetic stars from other neutron stars is that they also have the strongest magnetic fields known in the universe. For context, the strength of our planet’s magnetic field has roughly one Gauss value, while a refrigerator magnet measures about 100 Gauss. On the other hand, magnetism possesses magnetic fields of about one million billion gauss. If the magnetic star were to fall one-sixth of the way to the moon (about 40,000 miles), it would wipe data from all credit cards on Earth.
On March 12, 2020, astronomers discovered a new magnetic star using NASA’s Nel Girells Swift Telescope. This is the 31st known magnetic star, out of nearly 3,000 known neutron stars.
After follow-up observations, the researchers determined that this organism, called J1818.0-1607, was specific for other reasons. First, it may be the smallest magnetic star known, with an estimated age of about 500 years. This depends on how quickly the rate of rotation is slowing down and assuming he was born spinning faster. Second, it is also spinning faster than any previously discovered magnetic star, spinning about once every 1.4 seconds.
Chandra’s observations of J1818.0-1607 were obtained less than a month after the discovery with Swift, giving astronomers the first high-resolution view of this object in X-rays. The Chandra data revealed the source of a point where the magnetar is located, and it is surrounded by a diffuse X-ray emission, possibly caused by X-rays reflected off dust in its vicinity. (Some of this diffuse X-ray emission may be due to wind blowing away from the neutron star.)
Harsha Bloomer of West Virginia University and Samar Safi Harb of the University of Manitoba in Canada recently published results from Chandra J1818.0-1607’s notes at The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
This composite image contains a wide infrared field of view from two NASA missions, the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Wide Range Infrared Scan Explorer (WISE), which were captured before the magnetic star was detected. The X-ray of Chandra shows the magnet in purple. The magnetic star is located near the plane of the Milky Way Galaxy about 21,000 light-years from Earth.
Other astronomers also observed the J1818.0-1607 using radio telescopes, such as the NSF’s Karl Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), and determined that it emits radio waves. This means that it also has properties similar to that of a “spinning pulsar”, a type of neutron star that emits beams of radiation that is detected as repeated pulses of emission as it rotates and slows down. Only five magnetic stars, including this one, have been recorded to also function as pulsars, making up less than 0.2% of the known neutron star cluster.
Chandra’s notes may also provide support for this general idea. Safi-Harb and Blumer studied how efficiently J1818.0-1607 converted energy from its low rate of rotation into x-rays. They concluded that this efficiency is lower than that normally found for magnetic stars, and is likely within the range found for other spinning pulsars.
The explosion that created a magnetic star at this age was expected to have left a detectable debris field. To search for supernova remnants, Warnet and Bloomer examined X-rays from Chandra, infrared data from Spitzer, and radio data from VLA. Based on Spitzer and VLA data, they found potential evidence for a remnant, but at a relatively large distance away from the magnetar. In order to cover this distance, the magnetar would have to travel at speeds far exceeding the speeds of the faster known neutron stars, even if we assume it is much older than expected, which would allow for more travel time.
Reference: “Chandra’s Notes of Newly Discovered Magnet Swift J1818.0–1607” Posted by Harsha Blumer and Samar Safi Harb, 26 Nov 2020, Available here. The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
DOI: 10.3847 / 2041-8213 / abc6a2
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center runs the Chandra program. The Smithsonian Observatory’s Chandra X-ray Center controls science from Cambridge Massachusetts and flight operations from Burlington, Massachusetts.