Home > Astronomy, Astrophysics, General Astronomy, Neutron Stars > A Hidden Population Of Exotic Neutron Stars

A Hidden Population Of Exotic Neutron Stars


When a massive star runs out of fuel, its core collapses to form a neutron star, an ultradense object about 10 to 15 miles wide. The gravitational energy released in this process blows the outer layers away in a supernova explosion and leaves the neutron star behind.

Most neutron stars are spinning rapidly – a few times a second – but a small fraction have a relatively low spin rate of once every few seconds, while generating occasional large blasts of X-rays. Because the only plausible source for the energy emitted in these outbursts is the magnetic energy stored in the star, these objects are called “magnetars.”

Most magnetars have extremely high magnetic fields on their surface that are ten to a thousand times stronger than for the average neutron star. New observations show that the magnetar known as SGR 0418+5729 (SGR 0418 for short) doesn’t fit that pattern. It has a surface magnetic field similar to that of mainstream neutron stars.

“We have found that SGR 0418 has a much lower surface magnetic field than any other magnetar,” said Nanda Rea of the Institute of Space Science in Barcelona, Spain. “This has important consequences for how we think neutron stars evolve in time, and for our understanding of supernova explosions.”

Full Story: http://chandra.si.edu/press/13_releases/press_052313.html

  1. zachandclem
    May 28, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    I love how accessible this is to a noob! Great x

  2. May 28, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    That is amazing. So, no one knows why SGR 0418 has a lower surface magnetic field yet?

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