Feb 10, 2009 05:30 PM | 3
Space-borne NASA telescopes are picking up tremendous flares of x-rays and gamma rays from a rapidly spinning neutron star, a type of stellar remnant, 30,000 light-years away. The so-called magnetar, a hyper dense collapsed star—imagine the sun compressed to the width of Lake Tahoe—boasting a tremendous magnetic field, completes a rotation every 2.07 seconds, making it the fastest spinner of its kind. (According to McGill University's magnetar catalogue, only 13 have been confirmed.)
Dubbed SGR J1550-5418, the object lies in a small southern constellation called Norma. The designation SGR reflects the object's classification as a soft gamma repeater, an even rarer category of magnetar that fires off irregular bursts of x-rays and gamma rays. Late last month, the gamma-ray repeater earned its title by flaring up with intense bursts of radiation, the x-ray component of which was captured on video by NASA's Swift satellite (below).
"At times, this remarkable object has erupted with more than a hundred flares in as little as 20 minutes," Loredana Vetere, a research associate at Pennsylvania State University who works on the Swift project, said in a statement. "The most intense flares emitted more total energy than the sun does in 20 years."
Image credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab; Video credit: NASA/Swift/Jules Halpern (Columbia Univ.)
soft gamma ray repeater,
More News Blog: Next: Obama scuttles Bush offshore drilling plan Previous: Obama orders review of government cyber security
Deadline: Jan 27 2014
Reward: $15,000 USD
The Dow Chemical Company is the leading producer of polyalkylene glycols (PAGs) used in synthetic fluids and lubricants where petroleum,
Deadline: Jan 11 2014
Reward: $20,000 USD
Conventional washing machines cause excessive damage and wrinkling to clothes primarily during the water removal step. With the introduc
Give a 1 year subscription as low as $14.99X