Magnetars: A missing link | Science News

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Magnetars: A missing link

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10:15pm, September 17, 2002

Astronomers have found evidence suggesting that a rare group of ultradense stars are magnetars–the objects with the strongest magnetic fields known in the universe.

According to theory, these enormous fields–100 trillion to 1 quadrillion gauss–are generated within ultradense neutron stars. A neutron star's gravity is so strong that it squeezes protons and electrons into a fluidlike core of neutrons inside a solid crust. Swirling motions within the core may dramatically amplify the already strong magnetic field there, creating a magnetar.

The field creates unbearable stresses that can be relieved only by cracks in the star's crust. As the magnetic energy pours out, it powers electrons ju

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