By Olivia Kendle
Magnetars are neutron stars that form into magnetars themselves. Neutron stars are created when a huge star emits nuclear fuel and explodes, which is then a supernova. The outside layers are released and the very dense core is left which is called the neutron star.
Most cores measure around 14 miles across but weigh more than the Sun because of its density. 90% of the time, those neutron stars are what are called “pulsars,” which spin at a very high rate and shoot off jets of radiation. Only around 10% of those neutron stars turn into magnetars.
Magnetars are surrounded by magnetic fields that are way more stronger than Earth’s magnets,
and they are so magnetic that they could break away at the appropriate atomic level, to any traveler too close.
So far, there have been 29 magnetars discovered in the Milky Way.
Scientists and astronomers have found that magnetars are the main source of FRBs. These blasts of radio wave energy are shot out in less than a millisecond. Astronomers have been confused about magnetars producing FRBs for years, since 2007.
FRB stands for: Fast Radio Burst. Astronomers guess that the FRBs release the same amount of energy as the Sun does in 3 days. FRBs are a short radio pulse of length that is estimated to be a fraction of a millisecond, to a few milliseconds, fast. They are caused by a high-energy astrophysical process that is still a mystery to astronomers.
In April of 2020, astronomers detected, and discovered, with several media telescopes, a magnetar releasing FRBs by the center of the Milky Way. The magnetar was named SGR 1935+2154.
Some FRB rays were too far away from the Milky Way to find the FRB source, but this magnetar was close enough that astronomers were able to track its activity.
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