NASA / CXC / M.WEISS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / CXC / M.WEISS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
This illustration depicts a magnetar, a type of neutron star that has a relatively slow spin rate and generates occasional large blasts of X-rays. Most magnetars have extremely high magnetic fields on their surface that are ten to a thousand times stronger than for the average neutron star. New data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, ESA's XMM-Newton and NASA's Swift and RXTE satellites shows that a magnetar in our galaxy called SGR 0418+5729 (SGR 0418 for short) is exceptional, with a surface magnetic field similar to that of mainstream neutron stars. The artist's impression provides a close-up view of SGR 0418. This illustration highlights the weak surface magnetic field of the magnetar, and the relatively strong, wound-up magnetic field lurking in the hotter interior of the star. SGR 0418 is located about 6,500 light years from Earth. Release date May 23, 2013.
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