This finding could revolutionize the theories that explain the physics of neutron stars and the formation of magnetars.
A team of astronomers from several countries at the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) has discovered a new type of celestial body with extremely strong magnetic fields “that challenges our understanding of the physics of neutron stars,” Curtin University (Australia) reported.
According to the institution, the object called GPM J1839-10, located 15,000 light years from our solar system in the constellation of Scutum, was discovered with the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope, located in the interior of the state of Western Australia.
Due to its characteristics, scientists suspect the object is an ultra-long-period magnetar, a rare type of neutron star with magnetic fields trillions of times stronger than Earth’s and capable of producing powerful bursts of energy.
A one-of-a-kind star
As detailed by the scientists in an article published in the journal Nature, the GPM J1839-10 emits bursts of radio waves lasting up to five minutes every 22 minutes, making it the magnetar with the longest energy emission periods ever detected.
The first records of the waves emitted by the magnetar date back to observations made in 1988 by India’s Giant VHF Radio Telescope and the US Very Large Array radio telescope, the lead author of the publication, Natasha Hurley-Walker, explained.
However, the expert pointed out, it went unnoticed and “hidden in the data for 33 years” since scientists at that time did not expect to find a similar object while scanning the sky.
For the researcher, one of the most significant characteristics of this neutron star is that, despite the fact that it rotates on its own axis too slowly, it emits high-energy waves. “Assuming it’s a magnetar, it shouldn’t be possible for this object to produce radio waves. But we’re seeing them […] and we’re not talking about a small radio broadcast,” he said.
Likewise, the authors point out, the discovery of the GPM J1839-10 could revolutionize the theories that explain the physics of neutron stars and raises new questions about the formation and evolution of magnetars.
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