New kind of star offers clues to mysterious origin of magnetars


A brand new kind of star is shedding gentle on the mysterious origin of magnetars – the strongest magnets within the universe.

Magnetars are super-dense useless stars with ultra-strong magnetic fields, and could be discovered all around the Milky Way.

Although astronomers have no idea precisely how they kind, utilizing a number of telescopes all over the world, together with European Southern Observatory (ESO) amenities, researchers have uncovered a residing star that’s more likely to develop into a magnetar.

The discovering marks the invention of a brand new kind of astronomical object – large magnetic helium stars – and sheds gentle on the origin of magnetars.


It is thrilling to uncover a brand new kind of astronomical object, particularly when it’s been hiding in plain sight all alongside

Tomer Shenar, University of Amsterdam

The enigmatic nature of the star HD 45166 couldn’t be simply defined by standard fashions, though it had been noticed for greater than 100 years.

Little was identified about it past the truth that it’s one among a pair of stars, is wealthy in helium and is a number of instances extra large than the Sun.

Lead creator, Tomer Shenar, an astronomer on the University of Amsterdam within the Netherlands, mentioned the star had develop into a “bit of an obsession”.

Co-author and ESO astronomer Julia Bodensteiner, based mostly in Germany, mentioned: “Tomer and I refer to HD 45166 as the ‘zombie star’.

“This is not only because this star is so unique, but also because I jokingly said that it turns Tomer into a zombie.”

Magnetic fields are identified to affect the behaviour of stars and will clarify why conventional fashions failed to explain HD 45166, which is situated about 3,000 light-years away within the constellation Monoceros.

According to the research, the star has an extremely sturdy magnetic discipline, and is likely one of the most magnetic large stars discovered thus far.

“The entire surface of the helium star is as magnetic as the strongest human-made magnets,” mentioned co-author Pablo Marchant, an astronomer at KU Leuven’s Institute of Astronomy in Belgium.

The scientists counsel the statement marks the invention of the very first large magnetic helium star.

Dr Shenar mentioned: “It is exciting to uncover a new type of astronomical object, especially when it’s been hiding in plain sight all along.”

The findings, revealed within the Science journal, present clues to the origin of magnetars, compact useless stars laced with magnetic fields not less than a billion instances stronger than the one in HD 45166.

The staff’s calculations counsel this star will finish its life as a magnetar.

As it collapses below its personal gravity, its magnetic discipline will strengthen, and the star will ultimately develop into a really compact core, and probably the most highly effective kind of magnet within the universe.



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