“The universe is wider than our views of it.”
—Henry David Thoreau
Ok but: Muslims in space. How do they pray? You know? This really bothers me. This should be addressed in more science fiction.
Malaysia (a Muslim country) actually came up with answers to these questions after they had a few astronauts launched into orbit.
kush had me like
Magnetars are the bizarre super-dense remnants of supernova explosions.
They are the strongest magnets known in the Universe — millions of times more powerful than the strongest magnets on Earth. A team of European astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) now believe they’ve found the partner star of a magnetar for the first time.
This discovery helps to explain how magnetars form — a conundrum dating back 35 years — and why this particular star didn’t collapse into a black hole as astronomers would expect.
Like all of these strange objects they are tiny and extraordinarily dense — a teaspoon of neutron star material would have a mass of about a billion tonnes — but they also have extremely powerful magnetic fields. Magnetar surfaces release vast quantities of gamma rays when they undergo a sudden adjustment known as a starquake as a result of the huge stresses in their crusts.
The Westerlund 1 star cluster, located 16 000 light-years away in the southern constellation of Ara (the Altar), hosts one of the two dozen magnetars known in the Milky Way. It is called CXOU J164710.2-455216 and it has greatly puzzled astronomers.
But this presents its own problem, since stars this massive are expected to collapse to form black holes after their deaths, not neutron stars. We did not understand how it could have become a magnetar,” says Simon Clark, lead author of the paper reporting these results.
Astronomers proposed a solution to this mystery. They suggested that the magnetar formed through the interactions of two very massive stars orbiting one another in a binary system so compact that it would fit within the orbit of the Earth around the Sun.
But, up to now, no companion star was detected at the location of the magnetar in Westerlund 1, so astronomers used the VLT to search for it in other parts of the cluster. They hunted for runaway stars — objects escaping the cluster at high velocities — that might have been kicked out of orbit by the supernova explosion that formed the magnetar. One star, known as Westerlund 1-5, was found to be doing just that.
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