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Magnetar eruption, illustration

Magnetar eruption, illustration

C042/6298

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Credit

NASA / GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER / S. WIESSINGER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER / S. WIESSINGER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Magnetar eruption. Computer illustration of eruptions from the surface of a magnetar, a neutron star with an extremely powerful magnetic fields. Magnetars are very dense objects (the size of mountains but weighing as much as the sun), with magnetic fields hundreds of trillions of times more powerful than the Earth's. The decay of these powerful magnetic fields powers the emission of very energetic radiation, usually in the form of X-rays or gamma rays. A rupture in the crust of a highly magnetized neutron star can trigger high-energy eruptions.

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