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    NASA spots slowest known magnetar

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    Astronomers have found evidence of a magnetar – magnetised neutron star – that spins much slower than the slowest of its kind known until now, which spin around once every 10 seconds.

    The magnetar 1E 1613 – at the centre of RCW 103, the remains of a supernova explosion located about 9,000 light years from Earth – rotates once every 24,000 seconds (6.67 hours), the researchers found.

    nasa
    NASA also state that The source exhibits properties of a highly magnetised neutron star, or magnetar, yet its deduced spin period is thousands of times longer than any pulsar ever observed.
    On June 22, 2016, an instrument aboard NASA’s Swift telescope captured the release of a short burst of X-rays from 1E 1613.

    The Swift detection caught astronomers’ attention because the source exhibited intense, extremely rapid fluctuations on a time scale of milliseconds, similar to other known magnetars. These exotic objects possess the most powerful magnetic fields in the universe -trillions of times that observed on the Sun – and can erupt with enormous amounts of energy.

    Astronomers expect that a single neutron star will be spinning quickly after its birth in the supernova explosion and will then slow down over time as it loses energy.

    However, the researchers estimate that the magnetar within RCW 103 is about 2,000 years old, which is not enough time for the pulsar to slow down to a period of 24,000 seconds by conventional means.

    One leading scenario is that debris from the exploded star has fallen back onto magnetic field lines around the spinning neutron star, causing it to spin more slowly with time. Searches are currently being made for other very slowly spinning magnetars to study this idea in more detail.

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