Astronomers detect strongest known magnetic field in the universe

Astronomers detect strongest known magnetic field in the universe
Artist's concept of a pulsar
Artist's concept of a pulsar
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Artist's concept of a pulsar
Artist's concept of a pulsar

Astronomers have detected the strongest magnetic field ever observed in the universe. Studying powerful X-ray signals coming from a neutron star, the team calculated that its magnetic field is tens of millions of times stronger than any ever created in a lab here on Earth.

Designated GRO J1008-57, this neutron star belongs to a very specific subtype – an accreting X-ray pulsar. As a pulsar, it emits powerful beams of electromagnetic radiation that periodically sweep over the Earth like a lighthouse beam. The “accreting X-ray” description comes from the fact that material regularly falls onto its surface, causing periodic energetic X-ray outbursts that can be detected by telescopes.

And now, a team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen has studied one of these outbursts to calculate the strength of the pulsar’s magnetic field.

During an outburst in August 2017, the astronomers observed the pulsar using the Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (Insight-HXMT). They noted a particular signature called a cyclotron resonant scattering feature (CRSF), a pattern that occurs when the X-ray photons scatter off plasma electrons at the surface.

This CRSF was measured at an energy of 90 keV, and from that the team calculated the magnetic field of the pulsar to be as high as one billion Tesla. That is far and away the most powerful magnetic field ever detected in the universe – for reference, the strongest magnetic field created in the lab so far is a “mere” 1,200 Tesla.

While this is the strongest that’s been directly detected, it’s theorized that even more intense versions of neutron stars, called magnetars, may have magnetic fields as strong as 100 billion Tesla.

The research was published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences

The numbers that the universe can come up with are so large I can't keep up anymore.
The 'neutron star' is a bit of a nonsensical invention. It dates back to the 60s when pulsars were first noted by Bell Burnell and co. A classical mistake was to apply gravi/ mechanical thinking to an electromagnetic phenomenon. It is laughable that the old rotating lighthouse example was emplayed. Look at lighthouses now and the vast majority are far more efficient electronically controlled LED sources. Nature is usually pretty efficient and a pulsating plasma source is far more likely than a microscopic star spinning faster than a dentist drill!!
As for enormous magnetic fields. Anything connected with an electric current will have magnetic fields. Plasma is usually generated electrically, we need to revise our explanatios for these pulsing plasma sources
The Universe is electric, all of it. Why do so many astrophysicists still ignore that fact.
Arabinda Pradhan
This detection of magnetic field comes from the fact that material always falls onto its surface through magneto-electric (hypothetical) phenomenon. Maybe this phenomenon is that type of force actually redefine the gravity.
They found me!
Michel Bleau
The applications of Magnetic Fields in many aspect of life are underestimated, we have our own even if compare to 1 billion Tesla is so faint that could seem like nothing, but without it no life, applying a gentle external magnetism in the area where ours expresses itself, have good results on health problems & also changing magnetic field around an area could probably disturb harmful insects, but this needs more researches. Michel