Space

Scientists Record a Starquake

A unique cosmic phenomenon was registered by American scientists. NASA announced that they have recorded a magnetar starquake.

A magnetar is a special type of neutron star, spinning very fast around its axis and having the most powerful magnetic field in the Universe.

It is a quadrillion times more powerful than the magnetic field of our own planet. In the international catalog, there are barely 23 confirmed magnetars in the universe.

The theory of magnetars was proposed by American astronomers Robert Duncan and Christopher Thompson in 1980, while in 1998 they obtained the first proof of their existence in the form of a powerful gamma and x-ray burst from SGR 1900+14 in the Aquila constellation.

The starquake of the magnetar is the oscillation of the neutron star, during which it rings like a bell, point out NASA experts.

Stars

Thanks to the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, scientists have analyzed the forceful explosions of x-rays from the neutron star SGR J1550-5418, located about 30 000 light years from Earth.

The object in question has the fastest rotation period of all known magnetars - 2.07 seconds.

Astronomers noticed that SGR J1550-5418 became much more active on January 22nd, 2009, when they observed the most intense gamma ray bursts, several per minute, with the most intense equaling to the total energy the Sun emits in 20 years.

Similar remarkable bursts from different sources are exceptionally fascinating for scientists, as well as for amateur astronomers.

Actually, in recent times, such bursts have only been observed 3 times. There was a similar phenomenon back in 1979. The 2nd was in 1998.

The 3rd was a decade ago. However, data for a real starquake were obtained only in the past 2 events.

Now experts are expecting new activity from magnetar SGR J1550-5418. Whether their expectation will soon yield results is yet to be seen.

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