The spins of some neutron stars decrease rapidly, and extremely powerful magnetic fields that radiate electromagnetic energy may slow their rotation. This type of neutron star is called a magnetar.
New observations of a candidate magnetar have confirmed that it has a magnetic field 600 trillion times the strength of Earth's field – powerful enough to explain the 'starquake' it experienced in 2003.
Researchers used the XMM-Newton spacecraft to measure X-rays from a neutron star called XTE J1810-197, which lies about 10,000 light years from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius.
Discovered in 2003 when it had a major outburst, suddenly becoming more than 100 times brighter than normal in X-rays. The event was similar to magnetic starquakes seen on other candidate magnetars.
The idea is that the crust of the neutron star buckles and cracks due to the magnetic forces exerted by the star's own magnetic field.
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