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Magnetars In The Sky

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Magnetars In The Sky


Indicated on this infrared image of
the galactic center region
are positions of candidate magnetars --
believed to be
the strongest magnets in the galaxy.

Classified by observers as Soft Gamma Repeaters
(SGRs) and Anomalous X-ray Pulsars
(AXPs), these cosmic powerhouses are likely
spinning, highly-magnetized neutron stars.

How strong is a magnetar's magnetic field?

The Earth's magnetic field
which deflects
is measured
to be about 1 Gauss, while
the strongest fields sustainable in earthbound laboratories are
about 100,000 Gauss.

A magnetar's
monster magnetic field
is estimated to be as high as 1,000,000,000,000,000 Gauss.

A magnet this strong, located at about
half the distance to the Moon
would easily erase your credit cards and suck pens out of your pocket.

In 1998, from a distance of about 20,000 light-years, one magnetar,
SGR 1900+14 generated
a powerful flash of gamma-rays detected
by many spacecraft.

That blast of high-energy radiation
is now known to have
had a measurable effect on Earth's ionosphere.

At the surface of the magnetar,
its powerful magnetic field is thought to buckle and shift the neutron
star crust generating the intense high-energy flares

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