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Holy Sh*t! Astronomers Discover a 'Magnetar!'

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  • Holy Sh*t! Astronomers Discover a 'Magnetar!'

    Astronomers spot a 'bizarre' strobe light star

    A "most bizarre" strobe light star reported by European astronomers likely belongs to a long-sought family of compact "neutron" stars.

    It initially showed up as a gamma-ray burst, leading astronomers to think it was the death of a star in the far-off universe. But after that first gamma-ray pulse, there was a three-day period of activity during which this odd celestial object emitted 40 visible-light flashes before disappearing again. Eleven days later, there was a brief near-infrared flaring episode recorded by ESO's Very Large Telescope. Then the weird object went visibly "silent" again.

    "We are dealing with an object that has been hibernating for decades before entering a brief period of activity," said Alberto J. Castro-Tirado, lead author of a paper in this week's issue of Nature.

    Astronomers now think this celestial enigma is a 'magnetar' located in our own Milky Way galaxy, about 15,000 light-years away in the area around the constellation of Vulpecula, the Fox. Magnetars are a type of young neutron stars. They boast a magnetic field that's a billion billion times stronger than Earth's.

    To put that in perspective for those of us with the financial crisis willies: “A magnetar would wipe the information from all credit cards on Earth from a distance halfway to the Moon,” explains Antonio de Ugarte Postigo, the study's co-author.

    Because magnetars can be celestially silent for decades at a time, they're hard to pin unless we're looking at the right place at the right time. Postigo says there's likely a large population of them in the Milky Way even though we've only identified about 12.

    The magnetar, known as SWIFT J195509+261406, is a candidate for what scientists have been looking for: A magnetar moving towards a pleasant retirement as its magnetic fields decay.
    Link

    I don't know my astronomy all that well, but I thought that this description is what I remember about Pulsars. Been a long time since my Astronomy 101 class.

    Either way, 'Magnetar' is a damn cool name. Wasn't that one of the Decepticons?

    Moon

  • #2
    I just love the name Very Large Telescope. Awesome.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Moon Man View Post
      Link

      I don't know my astronomy all that well, but I thought that this description is what I remember about Pulsars. Been a long time since my Astronomy 101 class.

      Either way, 'Magnetar' is a damn cool name. Wasn't that one of the Decepticons?

      Moon
      No. That was one of the Temptations, I think.

      Comment


      • #4
        I wonder if "wiping the information from all credit cards" means wiping out the balances as well?

        That would be something heroic.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by King View Post
          I wonder if "wiping the information from all credit cards" means wiping out the balances as well?

          That would be something heroic.
          Fuck YEAH!
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          • #6
            That star should be popular with the rave kids.

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            • #7
              It's a good time to have a Hendrix black light poster if you live on planet Xxxyiyzxzyxizv.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by King View Post
                I wonder if "wiping the information from all credit cards" means wiping out the balances as well?

                That would be something heroic.

                Mr. Durden already took care of that.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by skippy05 View Post
                  I just love the name Very Large Telescope. Awesome.
                  I started using it 20 years ago.
                  Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.

                  We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.

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                  • #10
                    It initially showed up as a gamma-ray burst, leading astronomers to think it was the death of a star in the far-off universe.
                    If universe isn't an error, where the writer/editor meant galaxy, I am really behind on my astronomy.
                    Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.

                    We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.

                    Comment


                    • #11


                      -RBB

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Moon Man View Post
                        Link

                        I don't know my astronomy all that well, but I thought that this description is what I remember about Pulsars. Been a long time since my Astronomy 101 class.

                        Either way, 'Magnetar' is a damn cool name. Wasn't that one of the Decepticons?

                        Moon
                        I was under the impression Pulsars emitted but radio waves.
                        "Whaddya mean I hurt your feelings?"
                        "I didn't know you
                        had any feelings"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SunuvaNun View Post
                          I was under the impression Pulsars emitted but radio waves.
                          Correct, and pulsars can only be seen when pointing toward Earth. Magentars emit X-rays and gamma rays.

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