The youngest baby star in the universe

We all like to gaze up at the sky during the night. Some even try to count them. You may calculate them in your test paper or rate a hotel based on stars, but there are many, and it won’t be possible to count them. According to an estimation, there are more than 9000 visible stars in the sky and around 100 thousand million stars in the Milky Way Galaxy and more in the entire universe.

A neutron star was found and made it on the list when it was nearly 240 years old. Yes, that’s the youngest star, a neutron star to be precise. But what does it mean? Neutron, by the name, consists of 95 percent neutron, which is indeed made from protons, releasing the particles called neutrinos. There’s a lot more to know about in the world of astronomy. These neutron stars have a mass nearly 1.4 times compared to the sun.

A supernova in the galaxy.

These originate after the death of another giant star and form newer stars. There are many types of neutron stars, and the recently found one is a magnetar. Magnetar usually has a powerful magnetic field. The field can be so strong, about a hundred million times stronger than the most potent magnets on Earth made by the humans, and it can manipulate the shape of an atom. These magnetars can remain active for around ten thousand years, considered as a short time in cosmic history.

You may have heard about supernova. The neutron star is created due to the same supernova, as mentioned above earlier. There are more than 3000 neutron stars, and researchers know only 31 magnetars. The magnetar discovered is named Swift J1818.0-1607 on 12th March this year 2020, along with a substantial amount of X-rays, gamma rays, and stable beams of radio waves. This star was noticed at NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory.

The actual image of Swift J1818.0−1607. Courtesy : NASA

The star is a part of the Sagittarius constellation and 16000 light-years away, making it somewhat close to Earth when compared to other stars. Do you know the nearest star to the planet Earth is Alpha Centauri, which is about 4.3 light-years away? The neutron stars can be merely 15 km to 30 km wide, and it can turn around once every 1.36 seconds, one of the fastest-spinning matters. This star also falls in a category known as radio pulsars, and the magnetar is one of the five radio pulsars ever discovered.

An illustration of a magnetar. Courtesy: EAS

There is very little information about these categories, and this single discovery can help in learning about its formation, aging, and its existence. This discovery was made when there was an outburst at that moment. So some findings may occur unknowingly; the researchers wished if they could see from its existence. This star was observed when the X-ray emissions were at the peak, making it ten times shinier than usual as the magnetar was out-bursting. Some inventions may happen accidentally but may make a significant change to humankind. Let me describe with an example: the discovery of penicillin was made by Alexander Fleming in 1928 when he had returned from a vacation.