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High-Energy Astrophysics News

Welcome to our archive of past news articles.
You will find previous articles listed below from most the recent back to our first articles in 1996.


Link to article Yes, Virginia, There is a Magnetar!
[26 October 1998]
- A star, located 40,000 light-years from Earth, is generating the most intense magnetic field yet observed in the Universe, according to an international team of astronomers led by scientists at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. The discovery confirms the existence of a special class of neutron stars dubbed "magnetars." A neutron star is a burned-out star roughly equal in mass to the Sun that has collapsed through gravitational forces to be only about 10 miles across. A magnetar has a magnetic field estimated to be one thousand trillion times the strength of Earth's magnetic field. Magnetars have a magnetic field that is about 100 times stronger than the typical neutron star.

Link to article "Old Faithful" Black Hole Provides Insight into Jet Formation
[17 August 1998]
- Scientists observing a disk of matter surrounding a black hole in our Galaxy have discovered that the disk is periodically disrupted and hurled outward in opposite directions from the black hole, in jets moving at nearly the speed of light. The black hole replenishes the disk by pulling hot gas from the surface of a nearby "companion" star, and then undergoes another disruption, repeating the sequence at half-hour intervals.

Link to article Astronomers Detect Most Powerful Explosion Since Big Bang
[18 May 1998]
- The energy released in a cosmic gamma-ray burst detected in December 1997 is the most energy ever detected from an explosion in the Universe, perhaps making it the most powerful explosion since the creation of the Universe in the Big Bang.

Link to article NASA Announces Contest to Name X-Ray Observatory
[17 April 1998]
- NASA is searching for a new name for the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF), currently scheduled for launch Dec. 3, 1998, from the Space Shuttle Columbia. AXAF is the third of NASA's Great Observatories, after the Hubble Space Telescope and the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. Once in orbit around Earth, it will explore hot, turbulent regions in the universe where X-rays are produced.

Link to article Newly Discovered Pulsar Spins its Way into History
[25 Feb 1998]
- Astronomers have discovered a neutron star spinning at a rate of over 60 times a second! The star, a pulsar believed to have formed in a supernova explosion some five thousand years ago, is spinning faster than most scientists believed possible for such an object. The pulsar was found by a team of astronomers including Frank Marshall, William Zhang, and Eric Gotthelf from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, along with John Middleditch from Los Alamos National Laboratory. "The pulsar is spinning twice as fast as any young pulsar that we have seen before," said Marshall. "To put it in perspective, this pulsar is spinning more than 6 million times as rapid as the Earth."

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