Latest Issue of Science News


News

Magnetars may fuel briefer bursts

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.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

X
This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.