A rare type of neutron star cast astronomers on the loop after they suddenly woke up after years of inactivity. The star in question is a magnetar, a special kind of neutron star that boasts an extremely strong magnetic field and emits X-ray and gamma rays.
Named KSTE J1810-197, this magnet is strange among the strange class of neutron stars. According to Science Alert, this is one of the earliest known science stars. First discovered in 2004, it is not just one of just 23 magnets that have been found so far, but is also part of the "exclusive club of strange stars" – KSTE J1810-197 is one of only four very magnetic magnetoids that are known to emit radio waves.
Like The Inkuisitr The previously published, neutron stars are small, highly condensed core of dead stars that eclipse a large amount of stellar mass – equivalent approximately twice the size of the Sun. – to a space comparable to the size of a large city. Except for the black holes, this is the densest type of object we discovered in the universe, it explains Live Science.
Magnets are fast, highly magnetized neutron stars that emit high-energy electromagnetic radiation. This radiation is detected from the Earth in the form of regular flashes of energy emitted as magnets rotate in space, and are emanated by their huge magnetic fields – about one million times more intense than those of typical neutron stars. In comparison with the Earth's magnetic field, the magnetic field is quadrillion times stronger, the notes Space.
In addition to these splendid flashes of energy, some – very rare – magnets also give radio waves, as is the case with KSTE J1810-197. However, the star was silent about 10 years ago, slipping into an extended, unexplained dream from which she woke up now.
After going to sleep at the end of 2008, the magnetar began broadcasting radio waves on December 8, 2018. Her sudden outbreak of activity was picked up by astronomers at the University of Manchester in the UK and the Max Planck Institute of Radio Astronomy in Germany, who published their findings on the arxiv preprint server.
The team follows this unusual star since she was silent, watching him constantly using a radio telescope. Although scientists are not sure why magnetic waves were picked up again, or why the star moved into radio silence, they noticed that KSTE J1810-197 behaved differently after a dream. In other words, it did not wake the same as when it fell asleep, showing a different profile of radio waves as it was between 2004 and 2008.
It is interesting that the magnetar woke up with a new rhythm of radio waves that seemed quieter and relaxed than before.
"When KSTE J1810-197 flashed the last time across human telescopes, it acted erratically, wildly switching its pulse profile over relatively short periods of time," Live Science He added that the rhythm of his radio waves was more stable, according to a new release.
"The variations of the pulse we have seen so far from the sources were significantly less dramatic, on time scale from several hours to several months, than it was in 2006."
In addition, the team found that the magnetor now has a much higher torque, something that was previously recorded in another type of neutron star with a rapid rotation – pulsars – after a rest period.
According to Science Alert, some theories suggest that magnets could start as pulsars – as neutron stars start to rotate hundreds of times to thousands of times per second, these stars first turn into a pulsar and then become a magnet. This could also explain the powerful magnetism of these mysterious stars.