Rapidly spinning neutron stars could be source of some short gamma-ray explosions, astronomers propose
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — It takes a powerful beast to unleash a gamma-ray burst, the most energetic type of explosion since the Big Bang. But the exact nature of the cosmic powerhouse that generates the various kinds of bursts has been a matter of debate for nearly 20 years.
A new finding reported November 3 at the Gamma Ray Burst 2010 meeting suggests that rapidly spinning magnetars, which have the strongest known magnetic fields in the universe, may be the driving force behind a larger population of gamma-ray bursts than scientists had thought.
Magnetars that last several minutes before they collapse under their own weight to form black holes had previously