Strange Whirling Neutron Star Spotted in the Milky Way


A few months ago, a space telescope dubbed Swift spotted a burst of radiation from halfway across our galaxy. 

The newly found X-ray source, called Swift J1818.0-1607, was discovered to be a magnetar. Such a cosmic feature is a rare type of slowly whirling neutron star with one of the most mighty magnetic fields in the Universe. 

Whirling every 1.4 seconds, it’s considered one of the fastest moving magnetars, and probably one of the most recent neutron stars in the Milky Way. Here is what you need to know. 

Odd Neutron Star Finally Examined

Recent research conducted by a team of scientists from the ARC Center of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav), was discovered that the pulses from the magnetar become a bit lower when going from low to high radio frequencies – it has a perpendicular radio spectrum. And its radio transmission is not only abrupter than around 90 % of all pulsars. Scientists discovered, too, that the magnetar had become almost 10 times brighter in only a couple of weeks. 

Comparatively, the other radio magnetars possess almost consistent brightness across radio frequencies. These evaluations were realized using the ultra wideband-low (UWL) receiver system enabled on the Parkes radio telescope. Whereas most telescopes are restricted to examining radio waves across very narrow frequency strips, the Parkes UWL-receiver can spot radio waves across various frequencies simultaneously. 

After more investigation, the OzGrav team discovered intriguing similarities to a highly energetic radio pulsar dubbed PSR J1119-6127. This pulsar encountered a magnetar-like outburst in 2016, where it, too, underwent a fast enhance in brightness and developed a steep radio spectrum. If the discharge of this pulsar and Swift J1818.0-1607 have the same power origin, then slowly over time, the magnetar’s spectrum should start to resemble other found radio magnetars. 

The age of the young magnetar, approximately 300 years, was measured from both its movement period and how fast it slows down over time; however, it is unlikely to be true. The spin-down rates of magnetars are incredibly variable on year-long timeframes, especially after outbursts, and can conduct to incorrect age evaluations. Such a thing is also backed up by the lack of any supernova fragments – fragments of bright stellar eruptions – at the magnetars’ location. 

“Swift J1818.0-1607 may have started life as a more ordinary radio pulsar that obtained the rotational properties od a magnetar over time,” stated Marcus Lower, the lead author. 

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