Astronomers have discovered a new class of stellar object that seems to be defying death in inexplicable ways.
The object, located about 15,000 light-years from Earth, appears to be a magnetar — the collapsed heart of a once-giant star, now cramming a sun’s worth of mass into a ball no wider than a city, while crackling with a magnetic field more than a quadrillion times stronger than Earth’s.
These tiny, twirling balls can emit ultrabright jets of electromagnetic radiation as they spin, including radio waves that pulse to steady, mysterious rhythms that typically repeat every few seconds or minutes. These radio pulses usually stop entirely after a few months or years, as the magnetar’s rotation slows to a point dubbed the “death line” — a theoretical threshold beyond which the star’s magnetic field becomes too weak to generate any more high-energy radiation.
“Writer Fuel” is a series of cool real-world stories that might inspire your little writer heart. Check out our Writer Fuel page on the LimFic blog for more inspiration.