The Most Attractive Stars in the Universe
16. januar 2015
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Have you ever played with magnets? You might have done an experiment where you lay a magnet onto a table and place an iron nail nearby. If you push the magnet slowly toward the nail, there will come a point when the nail jumps across and sticks to the magnet.

That's because magnets have something invisible that extends all around them, called a ‘magnetic field’. It can cause a pushing or pulling force on other objects, even if the magnet isn't actually touching them.

The most powerful magnets in the Universe are called magnetars. These are tiny, super-compact stars, 50 times more massive than our Sun, squashed into a ball just 20 kilometres across. (That’s about the size of a small city!)

Astronomers think magnetars may be created when some massive stars die in a supernova explosion. The star’s gases blow out into space creating a colourful cloud like the one in this picture, called Kes 73. At the same time, the core of the star squashes down to form a magentar.

At the centre of the cosmic cloud in this photograph lies a tiny magnetar. But what this star lacks in size it makes up for in energy, shooting out powerful jets of X-rays every few seconds! You can see the X-ray jets in blue on this photograph. 

Cool Fakta

Astronomers believe there could currently be more than 30 million magnetars dotted across the Milky Way!

This Space Scoop is based on a Press Release from Chandra X-ray Observatory.
Chandra X-ray Observatory
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Denne side er produceret med støtte fra European Community's Horizon 2020 Programme gennem bevillingsaftale n° 638653