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For the First Time Ever, Scientists Witnessed the Birth of a Supermassive Magnetar After Two Stars Collided | Smart News

This year, astronomers witnessed a cosmic spectacle when two neutron stars—the dense remains of collapsing stars—crashed into each other billions of lightyears away. Their gargantuan collision lit up the galaxy with a flash and gave rise to a magnetar—a supermassive star with a hyper-powerful magnetic field. Astronomers have known about magnetars, but this event marks the first time they’ve ever witnessed one being born, reports Rafi Letzer for Live Science.

Using remarkably powerful equipment, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the Swift Observatory, the scientists observed a quick flash of light on May 22. The stars’ collision certainly didn’t occur that night—instead, it occurred 5.47 billion years ago, and its light had just reached Earth, according to a press release.

The team observed a quick flash of gamma radiation, the result of the stars crashing and sending space matter blasting through the galaxy to settle among the stars. Then

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Astronomers watched two neutron stars slam together and give birth to a magnetar

Two neutron stars slammed together far away from Earth. The energy of their collision lit up their corner of the sky with a brief flash of gamma radiation, followed by a softer, longer-lasting glow across the electromagnetic spectrum. Peering into that fading light, researchers spotted an unusual infrared signal — the first-ever recorded signature, they believe, of a newborn cosmic behemoth, a magnetar.

A magnetar is a neutron star with an unusually strong magnetic field. Astronomers have spotted magnetars elsewhere in the universe, but they’ve never before seen one being born. This time, researchers suspected they’d spotted a newborn magnetar because of an unusual pattern of flashing light. First, there was a short, ultrabright burst of gamma radiation (GRB). Then there was a longer-lasting, glowing “kilonova,” a telltale sign of neutron stars colliding. And that glow was much brighter than usual, suggesting a phenomenon astronomers had never seen

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Astronomers may have just witnessed the birth of a magnetar for the first time

When two neutron stars collide, the universe winces. The extreme crash is explosive and creates a “kilonova,” which sends out a bright, rapid burst of gamma rays. It also sends ripples through the fabric of space-time. Then, scientists believe, the cosmic smash likely creates a newly merged object that quickly collapses into a black hole. But… what if it survives? 

A new study, set to be published in The Astrophysical Journal but available as a preprint on arXiv, describes the brightest kilonova yet and suggests a neutron star collision might sometimes give rise to a magnetar, an extreme neutron star with dense magnetic fields.

On May 22, NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, a space telescope, spotted a gamma-ray burst in an extremely distant corner of space, dubbed GRB 200522A. Scientists believe these types of short bursts occur when two neutron stars collide, so when a telescope sees one, there’s

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Mysterious Radio Burst in Our Galaxy Came From a Magnetar

Artist’s impression of a magnetar outburst, showing the object’s magnetic field and bi-directional beamed emission, having burst out from a crust cracking episode.

Artist’s impression of a magnetar outburst, showing the object’s magnetic field and bi-directional beamed emission, having burst out from a crust cracking episode.
Image: McGill University Graphic Design Team

For the first time ever, astronomers have linked an actual object to those mysterious radio bursts they’ve been detecting since 2007. The culprit in this case, as suspected, is a super-dense object known as a magnetar, but the finding has prompted an entirely new set of questions.

In recent years, scientists have detected hundreds of powerful, millisecond-long pulses known as Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), all of them emanating from outside our galaxy. But on April 28, 2020 something incredible happened: astrophysicists picked up an FRB from inside the Milky Way, an event that elicited much excitement and conversation.

This particular burst, named FRB 200428, appeared to originate from a highly magnetic neutron star known as magnetar SGR 1935+2154. That the

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