Look out, it’s a magnetar

As you know, neutron stars are the result of massive stars (many times more massive the the sun) collapsing inward on themselves, leaving behind an extremely dense and energetic core. As you might expect these stars are extremely energetic — what you might not know is that sometimes as a result of the in-falling star materials angular momentum, neutron stars can spin. Sometimes they end up spinning very fast. These are magnetars. And as a result of their extremely rapid periods of rotation, they exhibit egregiously large magnetic fields. These fields are millions of times stronger than any man-made magnet. In fact, the magnetic field is so high around a magnetar that the field itself has an energy density 10,000 greater than that of lead, and distorts the orbit clouds of atoms into cylinders. I.e., you do not want to be close to a magnetar. Fortunately, they are so energetic that after around 10,000 years they effectively die, leaving behind a magnetized husk. Beware


2 thoughts on “MAGNETAR

  1. Hi chiefkeith7, super cool post! I actually didn’t know much about neutron stars and magnetars before reading this. It’s really interesting how rapid rotation can result in the generation of magnetic fields. The more I learn about space, the more I fear it. Thanks for the neat information and nightmares.


  2. Magnetars are definitely some of the most unique objects in space! Another example of fast spin causing weird effects is known as gravity darkening. Essentially, some stars are rotating much faster than expected, to the point that they stop looking spherical (they start looking squished along one axis). Because the core of the star is what is radiating heat to the surface, this leads to uneven surface temperatures across the face of the star!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s