NASA's Chandra Discovers Exotic Neutron Stars: Magnetars Not so Rare

May 23, 2013 6:46 PM

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Magnetars are some of the most extreme objects known in the universe. The dense remains of dead stars that erupt sporadically with bursts of high-energy radiation, magnetars were once thought to be relatively rare. Now, though, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other satellites have revealed that magnetars may be far more diverse and common than previously believed.

Magnetars form when a massive star runs out of fuel. When this happens, the star's core collapses and forms a neutron star, an ultradense object about 10 to 15 miles wide. The gravitational energy released in this process blows the outer layers away in a supernova explosion and leaves the neutron st...

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