June 8, 2023

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Astronomers have discovered an amazing object. It is so bright that it breaks the known rules

Representatives of the American agency claim that the object they tracked is 10 million times brighter than the Sun. With such remarkable properties, it breaks the rules known as Eddington luster. Arthur Eddington said that when a certain limit is exceeded, the object should soon explode. This is not always the case.

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The best example of this is the case described in the pages Astrophysical Journal. As it turns out, the scientists used the NuSTAR telescope (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) to observe the universe with x-rays.

The object of their research was a very intense X-ray source M82 X-2. And although it was assumed for some time that this near-impossible brightness could be something like an optical illusion, the reality has turned out to be much more complicated. M82 X-2 is actually 10 million times brighter than our star, which breaks a British astronomer’s rules.

M82 X-2 is about 10 million times brighter than the Sun. Thus, its existence contradicts Arthur Eddington’s postulates

What is this thing anyway? The most likely scenario assumes that we are talking about a neutron star. These are the remnants of a massive dead star, and they are characterized by an unimaginably high density. How high is it? Imagine that a neutron star several kilometers in diameter could have a mass greater than that of the Sun.

With sheer mass, of course, comes powerful gravity. This could be up to 100 trillion times more powerful than it is on Earth. When the attraction is very strong, matter collides regularly on the surface of the neutron star. In the case of M82 X-2, it comes from a nearby star. The latter loses a mass equivalent to 1.5 times the mass of our planet every year. The material stolen in this way crashes into the surface of the neutron star, and the explosions generated give M82 X-2 an unimaginable brightness.

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Of course, it remains a great mystery why – despite the brightness exceeding the limits proposed by Eddington – a neutron star 10 million times brighter than the Sun did not explode. According to one hypothesis, their magnetic field is strong enough to change the shape of their atoms. As a result, even as it continues to brighten, the M82 X-2 remains in one piece.

Confirmation of the brightness of other very intense X-ray sources would be needed to solve the puzzle. Hence it should be possible to put forward hypotheses about the values ‚Äč‚Äčthese extraordinary objects achieved. Maybe all the confusion is actually due to an optical illusion? Such a scenario cannot be ruled out.