Highly Magnetized Star Detected as Source of Fast Radio Bursts

Magnetars are surrounded by intense magnetic fields and spin so quickly that they build up huge reservoirs of energy which could produce powerful cosmic blasts.


NSFW    PASADENA, CALIFORNIA — The first fast radio burst to be discovered in the Milky Way has been traced back to a magnetar known as SGR 1935+2154 located 32,616 light-years away from Earth, astronomers researching the phenomena told Nature magazine.

The burst was detected by satellites including NASA's Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, and radio telescopes operated by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, or CHIME, and by the Survey for Transient Astronomical Radio Emission 2, or STARE2, in the U.S.

Fast radio bursts are brief but cataclysmic high-energy blasts that flare for just milliseconds but release as much energy as our Sun generates in 80 years, according to previous findings published in Nature.

A magnetar is described in the Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics as a kind of highly magnetized neutron star, the compressed core of a star that exploded in a supernova and collapsed in on itself.

Citing University of Toronto astronomer and CHIME member Paul Scholz, Nature magazine explains that because they spin so quickly, magnetars build up huge reservoirs of energy that could produce powerful cosmic blasts.
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