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Sat Nov 14, 2020, 04:05 PM

In a First, Astronomers Witnessed the Birth of a Supermassive Magnetar Following a Glorious Kilonova

https://thumbs-prod.si-cdn.com/73YmFRdqSbdYN44Dk0hSsNbm1JU=/800x600/filters:no_upscale()/

This year, astronomers witnessed a cosmic spectacle when two neutron stars—the dense remains of collapsing stars—crashed into each other billions of lightyears away. Their gargantuan collision lit up the galaxy with a flash and gave rise to a magnetar—a supermassive star with a hyper-powerful magnetic field. Astronomers have known about magnetars, but this event marks the first time they've ever witnessed one being born, reports Rafi Letzer for Live Science.

Using remarkably powerful equipment, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the Swift Observatory, the scientists observed a quick flash of light on May 22. The stars' collision certainly didn't occur that night—instead, it occurred 5.47 billion years ago, and its light had just reached Earth, according to a press release.

The team observed a quick flash of gamma radiation, the result of the stars crashing and sending space matter blasting through the galaxy to settle among the stars. Then came the long-burning glow of a kilonova—a colossal explosion that produces heavy elements like gold and platinum—as the space dust swirled around the newly formed magnetar, reports Live Science.

The explosion released more energy in half a second than the sun emits over ten billion years, according to another press release.

/snip

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/first-time-ever-scientists-witnessed-birth-supermassive-magnetar-after-two-stars-collided-180976292/#.X6_HiH8NKyg.facebook

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Reply In a First, Astronomers Witnessed the Birth of a Supermassive Magnetar Following a Glorious Kilonova (Original post)
Tom Yossarian Joad Nov 14 OP
Karadeniz Nov 14 #1
orwell Nov 14 #2
PatrickforO Nov 14 #3
Celerity Tuesday #14
eppur_se_muova Nov 14 #4
lastlib Nov 16 #7
lagomorph777 Nov 16 #9
renate Nov 16 #11
alfredo Nov 17 #13
burrowowl Nov 15 #5
LudwigPastorius Nov 15 #6
lagomorph777 Nov 16 #8
cry baby Nov 16 #10
JohnnyRingo Nov 17 #12

Response to Tom Yossarian Joad (Original post)

Sat Nov 14, 2020, 04:13 PM

1. Wow!

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Response to Tom Yossarian Joad (Original post)

Sat Nov 14, 2020, 04:17 PM

2. Once again...

...is "the universe" trying to tell us something.

Don the KillaCon ... the universe is on line 1 ... you've been Magnetar'd.

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Response to Tom Yossarian Joad (Original post)

Sat Nov 14, 2020, 07:48 PM

3. 5.7 billion years. What an awesome river of time.

You can't even really get your head around that.

Kind of puts the events of this year in perspective. Not that it excuses Trump...don't get me wrong. A federal prison cell awaits him.

But...5.7 billion years. In the great scope of the universe, sapiens is truly miniscule.

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Response to PatrickforO (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 24, 2020, 04:00 AM

14. State prison cell, hopefully. I expect he will grant himself a full blanket

pardon for all federal crimes, or have Pence do it via a last minute resignation gambit.

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Response to Tom Yossarian Joad (Original post)

Sat Nov 14, 2020, 11:54 PM

4. I wonder how many advanced civilizations were wiped out by that gamma-ray burst.

If we could detect it from 5.47 billion light years away, it must have toasted a whole galaxy. You know, BILLIONS of planetary systems.

Don't think the Universe is a friendly place. It is largely indifferent to life.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Star_(Clarke_short_story)

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Reply #4)

Mon Nov 16, 2020, 09:12 AM

7. "Oh, God, there were so many stars you could have used...."

That story has been a HUGE inspiration to me! Thanks for the reminder!




"What was the need to give these people to the fire, that the star of their passing might shine above Bethlehem?"

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Reply #4)

Mon Nov 16, 2020, 03:53 PM

9. That's possible - but it also no doubt created many civilizations.

This is the event that creates all the incredibly useful heavy elements in the lower half of the periodic table. We would not exist if not for such events in our galaxy's distant past.

It's also possible that the universe was too young (lacking in stability and heavy elements) for much life to have existed back then. Very hard to know.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Reply #4)

Mon Nov 16, 2020, 10:02 PM

11. I hadn't thought of that

Now I’m kind of depressed. About something that happened 5.7 billion years ago.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Reply #4)

Tue Nov 17, 2020, 10:50 PM

13. You are a fluke of the universe

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Response to Tom Yossarian Joad (Original post)

Sun Nov 15, 2020, 02:31 PM

5. Really far out!

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Response to Tom Yossarian Joad (Original post)

Sun Nov 15, 2020, 11:49 PM

6. Whoah!


Wouldn't want to be too close to that thing.

That bad boy would suck the paint off your house and give your family a permanent orange afro.

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Response to Tom Yossarian Joad (Original post)

Mon Nov 16, 2020, 03:50 PM

8. All of the heavy metals that we rely on are the product of an event like this.

This is not just amazing. It is creation. We would not exist if an event like this hadn't happened in the Milky Way's youth.

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Response to Tom Yossarian Joad (Original post)

Mon Nov 16, 2020, 08:54 PM

10. That wasn't on my bingo card. nt

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Response to Tom Yossarian Joad (Original post)

Tue Nov 17, 2020, 12:21 PM

12. Whoa!!

The forces of the universe never cease to intrigue me. That looks like the dreaded gamma ray burst that spews in polar ends to wreak havoc to anything in its way. Luckily it's unlikely we'd be in its direct path.

Thanx for posting this. Love it.

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