Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is visible only in the sky as a brighter, hazy band of stars that crosses the sky from north to south. At first glance, it doesn’t look very impressive. However, appearances are deceiving. In fact, the Milky Way consists of 200 to 400 billion stars and their companion planets, moons, asteroids, comets, black holes, and neutron stars. So it can be assumed that there are countless neutron stars in our galaxy. Even if we limited the search to neutron stars with ultra-strong magnetic fields, we would still get a huge number. These magnetars have long fascinated astronomers, but we still don’t know how they actually form.
How are magnets made?
That may have changed now. An international team of astronomers Using the most important telescopes on Earth, he discovered a star that has the potential to become a magnetar in the future. This star is in fact the first discovered case of a massive, magnetic helium star. Everything indicates that such stars can turn into magnetars over time.
Some disclaimers are due here. Well, astronomers have spotted this unusual star for over a century. HD 45166, as this is the catalog number, was one of the two stars that make up a binary system 3,000 light-years away from us, and was known to be many times more massive than the Sun and rich in helium. Oh, and most importantly, traditional models of stellar evolution are in no way suitable for describing HD 45166’s properties.
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Astronomers decided to check whether the star’s unusual features are not due to its magnetic field. Observations with the CFHT telescope and the FEROS spectrograph revealed that the star is indeed magnetic. Moreover, it turned out to be the most massive magnetic star discovered so far. The entire surface of the star contains a magnetic field about 100,000 times stronger than Earth’s. So we are dealing with the first massive helium magnetar – a completely new class of astrophysical object, which we did not know existed before.
Scientists suggest that stars like HD 45166 may eventually end their lives as magnetars, collapsing under their own gravity. In the process, the magnetic field would become stronger, becoming a billion times stronger than it is today. The origin of magnetars discovered over the years may have been discovered, in part, by chance.
Echo Richards embodies a personality that is a delightful contradiction: a humble musicaholic who never brags about her expansive knowledge of both classic and contemporary tunes. Infuriatingly modest, one would never know from a mere conversation how deeply entrenched she is in the world of music. This passion seamlessly translates into her problem-solving skills, with Echo often drawing inspiration from melodies and rhythms. A voracious reader, she dives deep into literature, using stories to influence her own hardcore writing. Her spirited advocacy for alcohol isn’t about mere indulgence, but about celebrating life’s poignant moments.