NEW YORK, NY – Researchers, theorists and scientists are buzzing over a new discovery in our galaxy!
Our galaxy is one giant puzzle that may never be put together. New stars are always popping up and new developments are always happening that throw scientists for a loop. A new discovery has changed the game – so to speak – when it comes to stellar evolution and the birth of black holes.
A neutron star with an incredible magnetic field has astonished astronomers, who reported on their findings Wednesday. The “magnetar” lies in a cluster of stars known as Westerlund 1, located 16,000 light years away in the constellation of Ara, the Altar. Westerlund 1, discovered in 1961 by a Swedish astronomer, is a favored observation site in stellar physics.
It is one of the biggest cluster of superstars in the Milky Way, comprising hundreds of very massive stars, some shining with a brilliance of almost a million Suns and some two thousand times the Sun’s diameter.
Within Westerlund 1 is the remains of one of galaxy’s few magnetars – a particular kind of neutron star, formed from the explosion of a supernova, that can exert a magnetic field a million, billion times stronger than Earth’s. The Westerlund star which eventually became the magnetar must have been at least 40 times the mass of the Sun, according to the study, which appears in the research journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.