Unusual magnetar actually turned out to be a pulsar

(ORDO NEWS) — In 2020, astronomers have added another new source to the list of exotic objects called magnetars. Now, new observations from NASA’s Chandra X-ray space observatory show that the object is also a pulsar, meaning it emits regular pulses of radiation.

Magnetars are a class of neutron stars, incredibly dense objects made up mostly of densely packed neutrons that form from the collapsed core of a massive star that exploded like a supernova.

Magnetars are distinguished from other neutron stars by their incredibly powerful magnetic field. Magnetars are the objects with the most powerful magnetic fields in the universe known to scientists.

On March 12, 2020, astronomers discovered a new magnetar using NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift space observatory. This magnetar has become only the 31st object of this class known to science, while the total number of known neutron stars is at least 3000.

After additional observations, scientists have found that this object, called J1818.0-1607, is very unusual even among such unusual objects as magnetars. First of all, he is incredibly young – he is only about 500 years old. Secondly, it spins incredibly fast for a magnetar – its rotation period is about 1.4 revolutions per second.

After the discovery of the source J1818.0-1607, its observations were also carried out in the radio range using the Karl Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope of the US National Science Foundation, which showed that the object emits regular radio pulses, and, therefore, can be attributed to a special class of neutron stars called a pulsar. Now, a new analysis of X-ray observations of J1818.0-1607 from NASA’s Chandra space observatory less than one month after its discovery has allowed astronomers led by Harsha Blumer to confirm the hypothesis that J1818 is. 0-1607 is indeed a pulsar. As of now, scientists know only 5 magnetars, the behavior of which is similar to that of pulsars, the authors note.

The work was published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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