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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘magnetar

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes how a photo of the Large Magellanic Cloud makes him recognize it as an irregular spiral, not a blob.
  • Centauri Dreams celebrates the life of cosmonaut Alexei Leonov.
  • John Quiggin at Crooked Timber takes issue with one particular claim about the benefits of war and empire.
  • The Crux looks at fatal familial insomnia, a genetic disease that kills through inflicting sleeplessness on its victims.
  • D-Brief looks at suggestions that magnetars are formed by the collisions of stars.
  • Dangerous Minds introduces readers to the fantasy art of Arthur Rackham.
  • Cody Delistraty considers some evidence suggesting that plants have a particular kind of intelligence.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the expansion by Russia of its airbase in Hneymim, Syria.
  • Karen Sternheimer writes at the Everyday Sociology Blog about the critical and changing position of libraries as public spaces in our cities.
  • Gizmodo looks at one marvelous way scientists have found to cheat quantum mechanics.
  • Information is Beautiful outlines a sensible proposal to state to cultivate seaweed a as source of food and fuel.
  • io9 notes that, in the exciting new X-Men relaunch, immortal Moira MacTaggart is getting her own solo book.
  • JSTOR Daily notes how the now-defunct Thomas Cook travel agency played a role in supporting British imperialism, back in the day.
  • Language Log notes that the Oxford English Dictionary is citing the blog on the use of “their” as a singular.
  • Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the grounds for impeaching Donald Trump.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the politics of Mozambique at the country approaches dangerous times.
  • Sean Marshall notes the southern Ontario roads that run to Paris and to London.
  • Neuroskeptic notes a problematic scientific study that tried to use rabbits to study the female human orgasm.
  • Steve Baker at The Numerati looks at a new book on journalism by veteran Peter Copeland.
  • The NYR Daily makes the point that depending on biomass as a green energy solution is foolish.
  • The Planetary Science Blog notes a 1983 letter by then-president Carl Sagan calling for a NASA mission to Saturn and Titan.
  • Roads and Kingdoms interviews photojournalist Eduardo Leal on his home city of Porto, particularly as transformed by tourism.
  • Drew Rowsome notes the book Dreamland, an examination of the early amusement park.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog shares a paper considering, in broad detail, how the consequence of population aging could be mitigated in the labour market of the European Union.
  • Strange Company reports on a bizarre poltergeist in a British garden shed.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the new strength of a civic national identity in Kazakhstan, based on extensive polling.
  • Arnold Zwicky, surely as qualified a linguist as any, examines current verb of the American moment, “depose”.

[LINK] “Crouching Tiger Hidden Magnetar”

Markus Hammonds’ Discovery news post suggests that there may be many more magnetars in the galaxy that previously believed.

Magnetars are a rare type of neutron star, with powerful magnetic fields making them prone to occasional violent outbursts. Only a small handful of these curious beasts have been found in our galaxy, but new research from the Chandra X-ray Observatory implies that they may be a lot more common than previously expected. They may simply be in hiding.

Magnetars are traditionally thought to show intense magnetic fields on their surfaces, reaching thousands of times the strength of the fields found on regular neutron stars. But 6,500 light years from Earth, one magnetar in particular, SGR 0418+5729, seems to buck the trend. On the surface, it appears to be just an ordinary neutron star.

It seems, there may be a lot which we don’t know about these massive stellar magnets. Nanda Rea at the Barcelona Institute of Space Science explained that ”we have found that SGR 0418 has a much lower surface magnetic field than any other magnetar,” elaborating that there may be some important consequences for our understanding of both neutron stars and the supernova explosions which create them.

For over three years, researchers kept a watchful eye on SGR 0418, using some of the world’s best x-ray observatories. By measuring changes in its rotation during x-ray outbursts, they managed to accurately estimate the external magnetic field strength of the neutron star.

Strangely, at least on the outside, that magnetic field appeared a lot weaker than they were expecting. And it’s very likely that there are other neutron stars out there which are hiding their true colors. “We think that about once a year in every galaxy a quiet neutron star should turn on with magnetar-like outbursts, according to our model for SGR 0418,” commented José Pons of the University of Alicante, Spain, who hopes that many more such objects may come to light with further research.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 4, 2013 at 2:59 am