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Sunday, 9 November 2014

Evidence of 'Starquakes' on Neutron Star

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An earthquake can be a pretty awe-inspiring natural event - a testament to the sheer power and size of shifting landmass. But what about seismic activity on a star? NASA's Fermi satellite recently spotted evidence of seismic waves rippling throughout a high-energy neutron star, resulting in an intense "storm" of high-energy blasts.

The star in question, called SGR J1550-5418, is a magnetar - an incredibly dense and highly magnetized neutron star that spins at an exceptionally high speed. The typical neutron star boasts a magnetic pull trillions of times stronger than the Earth's. A magnetar, by comparison, is about 1,000 times more magnetic than that.

Within the last four decades, only 23 magnetars in all have been identified, and among these stars, only three massive flares have ever been seen. The flares were related to "starquakes," in which instability of a neutron's pressing magnetic field literally shakes its surface.

"Fermi's Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) has captured the same evidence from smaller and much more frequent eruptions called bursts.

Source : nature world news