The star we knew a hundred years ago turned out to be a massive magnet

SciencesAug 19 23 09:00author: Samuel Hungryves

Astronomers say they have discovered a new type of star. It is a longtime precursor to the so-called magnetar, which is a highly magnetic neutron star. “It’s been a star in front of us all the time,” says astronomer Rob van den Berg. “Now we know why she was acting so strange.”

“This discovery should make you happy,” says van den Berg of the Sonneborg Observatory in Utrecht. These magnetars are very mysterious objects. The fact that a star now found is a precursor to such an object is an important discovery.

These magnetic fields are not healthy for you

Rob van den Berg, astronomer

Magnetars are very small, extinct stars with extremely strong magnetic fields that can be found throughout our Milky Way galaxy. “It’s the end result of a massive star collapsing after a supernova explosion,” says van den Berg. They are the second heaviest objects. Only black holes are heavier.

In addition, it is very magnetic. The astronomer advises not to approach it, if at all possible. “These magnetic fields are not healthy for you.”

Artist’s impression of HD 45166, a star that could become a magnetar. ( (C) ESO/L. calacadas)

“Astronomers are special people”

Van den Berg says the discovery is the result of the Amsterdam astronomer’s perseverance. Tomer Schnar noticed that the star we’ve known for a long time was acting strangely. And this did not let him go. This design has confirmed that we have discovered something new again. Schnar saw that the star was a magnetar, and calculations showed that it would end up as a magnetar.

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According to Van den Berg, the discovery is another important puzzle piece for shaping the overall picture of our universe. “There is still a lot to discover,” he says. But astronomers are special people. They get their teeth into certain problems, this time too, and this is how we approach the solutions step by step.

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