Chandra X-ray Observatory studies extraordinary magnetar — ScienceDaily

In 2020, astronomers extra a new member to an unique loved ones of unique objects with the discovery of a magnetar. New observations from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory enable assistance the idea that it is also a pulsar, that means it emits regular pulses of gentle.

Magnetars are a style of neutron star, an incredibly dense object mainly made up of tightly packed neutron, which forms from the collapsed core of a large star in the course of a supernova.

What sets magnetars aside from other neutron stars is that they also have the most potent known magnetic fields in the universe. For context, the power of our planet’s magnetic subject has a worth of about a person Gauss, while a fridge magnet steps about 100 Gauss. Magnetars, on the other hand, have magnetic fields of about a million billion Gauss. If a magnetar was situated a sixth of the way to the Moon (about 40,000 miles), it would wipe the information from all of the credit rating playing cards on Earth.

On March 12, 2020, astronomers detected a new magnetar with NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Telescope. This is only the thirty first known magnetar, out of the close to three,000 known neutron stars.

Immediately after adhere to-up observations, scientists determined that this object, dubbed J1818.-1607, was particular for other reasons. First, it may well be the youngest known magnetar, with an age estimated to be about 500 several years old. This is based on how rapidly the rotation fee is slowing and the assumption that it was born spinning much more rapidly. Secondly, it also spins more rapidly than any previously identified magnetar, rotating as soon as all around every single one.four seconds.

Chandra’s observations of J1818.-1607 obtained less than a month just after the discovery with Swift gave astronomers the initial high-resolution check out of this object in X-rays. The Chandra information unveiled a stage source where the magnetar was situated, which is surrounded by diffuse X-ray emission, probably triggered by X-rays reflecting off dust situated in its vicinity. (Some of this diffuse X-ray emission may well also be from winds blowing absent from the neutron star.)

Harsha Blumer of West Virginia College and Samar Safi-Harb of the College of Manitoba in Canada not too long ago revealed effects from the Chandra observations of J1818.-1607 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

This composite impression is made up of a large subject of check out in the infrared from two NASA missions, the Spitzer House Telescope and the Broad-Area Infrared Survey Explorer (Intelligent), taken just before the magnetar’s discovery. X-rays from Chandra show the magnetar in purple. The magnetar is situated near to the airplane of the Milky Way galaxy at a distance of about 21,000 gentle-several years from Earth.

Other astronomers have also observed J1818.-1607 with radio telescopes, this sort of as the NSF’s Karl Jansky Really Big Array (VLA), and determined that it provides off radio waves. This implies that it also has homes identical to that of a regular “rotation-run pulsar,” a style of neutron star that provides off beams of radiation that are detected as repeating pulses of emission as it rotates and slows down. Only five magnetars like this a person have been recorded to also act like pulsars, constituting less than .two% of the known neutron star populace.

The Chandra observations may well also provide assistance for this common idea. Safi-Harb and Blumer studied how successfully J1818.-1607 is changing power from its lowering fee of spin into X-rays. They concluded this efficiency is decreased than that usually uncovered for magnetars, and probably within the range uncovered for other rotation-run pulsars.

The explosion that made a magnetar of this age would be predicted to have remaining at the rear of a detectable particles subject. To look for for this supernova remnant, Safi-Harb and Blumer seemed at the X-rays from Chandra, infrared information from Spitzer, and the radio information from the VLA. Primarily based on the Spitzer and VLA information they uncovered attainable evidence for a remnant, but at a reasonably huge distance absent from the magnetar. In order to deal with this distance the magnetar would need to have to have traveled at speeds considerably exceeding those of the quickest known neutron stars, even assuming it is much older than predicted, which would permit extra vacation time.

NASA’s Marshall House Flight Middle manages the Chandra method. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Chandra X-ray Middle controls science from Cambridge Massachusetts and flight operations from Burlington, Massachusetts.

For extra Chandra pictures, multimedia and connected elements, check out:

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