Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

European Satellites Probe a New Magnetar

18.06.2009
NASA's Swift satellite reported multiple blasts of radiation from a rare object known as a soft gamma repeater, or SGR. Now, astronomers report an in-depth study of these eruptions using the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton and International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL) satellites.

The object, designated SGR 0501+4516, was the first of its type discovered in a decade and is only the fifth confirmed SGR. "Some sources are extremely active, but others can be quiet for a decade or more," said Nanda Rea, University of Amsterdam, who led the study. "This suggests many members of this class remain unknown."

Astronomers think the eruptions of SGRs arise from the most highly magnetized objects in the universe -- magnetars. Magnetars are neutron stars -- the crushed cores of exploded stars -- that, for reasons not yet known, possess ultra-strong magnetic fields. With fields 100 trillion times stronger than Earth’s, a magnetar placed half the moon’s distance would wipe the magnetic strips of every credit card on the planet. "Magnetars allow us to study extreme matter conditions that cannot be reproduced on Earth," said Kevin Hurley, a team member at the University of California, Berkeley.

Both SGRs and a related group of high-energy neutron stars -- called anomalous X-ray pulsars -- are thought to be magnetars. But, all told, astronomers know of only 15 examples.

SGR 0501+4516, estimated to lie about 15,000 light years away, was only discovered because its outburst gave it away. Astronomers think an unstable configuration of the star's magnetic field triggers the eruptions. "Once the magnetic field resumes a more stable configuration, the activity ceases and the star returns to quiet and dim emission," Rea said.

Twelve hours after Swift pinpointed SGR 0501+4516, XMM-Newton began the most detailed study of a fading magnetar outburst ever attempted. The object underwent hundreds of small bursts over a period of more than four months. Only five days after the initial eruption, INTEGRAL detected X-rays from the object that were beyond the energy range XMM-Newton can see. It's the first time such transient high-energy X-ray emission has been detected during an SGR's outburst phase. This emission disappeared within ten days of the outburst. The findings were published online June 15 in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The team plans further observations of SGR 0501+4516 with XMM-Newton. They hope to detect the object in a quiet state in order to probe the calm after the storm.

Francis Reddy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov

Further reports about: Integral Magnetar SGR X-ray microscopy XMM-Newton magnetic field neutron star satellites

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

nachricht Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>