Formation of a magnetar 6.5 billion light years away -- Scie...
Space Exploration

Formation of a magnetar 6.5 billion mild years away — Scie…


A College of Arkansas researcher is a part of a staff of astronomers who’ve recognized an outburst of X-ray emission from a galaxy roughly 6.5 billion mild years away, which is per the merger of two neutron stars to kind a magnetar — a big neutron star with an especially highly effective magnetic subject. Based mostly on this commentary, the researchers have been capable of calculate that mergers like this occur roughly 20 occasions per 12 months in every area of a billion mild years cubed.

The analysis staff, which incorporates Bret Lehmer, assistant professor of physics on the College of Arkansas, analyzed knowledge from the Chandra X-ray Observatory, NASA’s flagship X-ray telescope.

The Chandra Deep Area-South survey contains greater than 100 X-ray observations of a single space of the sky over a interval of greater than 16 years to gather details about galaxies all through the universe. Lehmer, who has labored with the observatory for 15 years, collaborated with colleagues in China, Chile and the Netherlands, and at Pennsylvania State College and the College of Nevada. The research was revealed in Nature.

A neutron star is a small, very dense star, averaging round 12 miles in diameter. Neutron stars are shaped by the collapse of a star large sufficient to provide a supernova, however not large sufficient to develop into a black gap. When two neutron stars merge to develop into a magnetar, the ensuing magnetic subject is 10 trillion occasions stronger than a kitchen magnet.

“Neutron stars are mysterious because the matter in them is so extremely dense and unlike anything reproduceable in a laboratory,” Lehmer defined. “We do not yet have a good understanding of the physical state of the matter in neutron stars. Mergers involving neutron stars produce lots of unique data that gives us clues about the nature of neutron stars themselves and what happens when they collide.”

A earlier discovery of two neutron stars merging, which used gravitational waves and gamma rays to make the commentary, gave astronomers new perception into these objects. The analysis staff used this new data to search for patterns in Chandra Observatory’s X-ray knowledge that have been per what they discovered about merging neutron stars.

The researchers discovered an outburst of X-rays within the knowledge from the Chandra Deep Area-South survey. After ruling out different doable sources of the X-rays, they decided the indicators got here from the method of two neutron stars forming a magnetar.

“A key piece of evidence is how the signal changed over time,” stated Lehmer. “It had a bright phase that plateaued and then dropped off in a very specific way. That is exactly what you’d expect from a magnetar that is rapidly losing its magnetic field through radiation.”

Related calculations concerning the fee of neutron star mergers have been made based mostly on the mergers detected by gravitational waves and gamma rays, strengthening the case for utilizing X-ray knowledge to search out such unique merger occasions within the universe.

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