Observatories across the globe spotted a baby magnetar that spins faster than any other magnetars and neutron stars discovered ever.
Observatories across the globe spotted a baby magnetar that spins faster than any other magnetars discovered. Swift J1818.0-1607 is the latest magnetic neutron star discovery.
What are Neutron Stars and Magnetars?
Neutron stars are dense remnants of ancients stars, according to National Geographic. These balls of gas mark the end of a stars’ journey through space and time. They are born out of once-large stars that grew in size until it exploded in a supernova.
Despite the neutron stars’ small diameter, it boasts almost 1.5 times the Earth’s sun’s mass.
On the other hand, a magnetar came from a contraction of a magnetic star. Magnetars are neutron stars that exhibit ultra-strong magnetic fields, according to the Swinburne University of Technology.
Magnetars have a magnetic field that is a thousand trillion times stronger than the Earth’s, making it one of the most magnetic objects in the known universe.
Discovery of the Youngest and Most Magnetic Magnetar
Astronomers are used to studying celestial bodies and the astrological phenomenon of things and events that happened millions or even billions of years ago.
That is why the discovery of Swift J1818.0-1607 delighted the space community.
In a study published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters, the young magnetar is estimated to be around 240 years old, practically a newborn by cosmic standards.
The young object was first spotted on March 12, 2020, by NASA”s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory after releasing a massive burst of X-rays. Observation and studies by the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s NuSTAR Telescope reveal more physical characteristics of the young neutron star.
Nanda Rea, a researcher from the Institute of Space Sciences in Barcelona, says, “This object is showing us an earlier time in a magnetar’s life that we’ve ever seen before, very shortly after its formation.”
With over 3,000 known neutron stars in the Milky Way, astronomers have only identified 31 confirmed magnetars, including the Swift J1818.0-1607.
“Maybe if we understand the formation story of these objects, we’ll understand why there is such a huge difference between the number of magnetars we’ve found and the total number of known neutron stars,” says Rea.
Located in the Sagittarius constellation, the baby magnetar is relatively close to Earth, only 16,000 light-years away.
Scientific models suggest that the magnetar’s physical properties and behaviors change as they age.
Swift J1818.0-1607 was spotted as it began outbursting. During this phase, the magnetar’s X-ray emissions became roughly 10 times stronger than average. Outbursting events often vary in their specifics. However, they usually begin with sudden increases in brightness over days or weeks.
Other than X-Rays, the baby magnetar is one of the few that also show emission in radio waves.
Nevertheless, discovering the highly magnetic baby neutron star that spins faster than most magnetars, the Swift J1818.0-1607, is vital in understanding the origins of the universe.
Originally published at The Science Times