A Star That Could Rip Our Planet Apart Was Just Born

Date: 2020-12-17 11:29:21

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It happened long, long ago and far, far away from our planet – all the way across the Universe. A powerful burst of gamma radiation lasted a mere half-second – but it released an enormous amount of energy. It was more than our Sun would produce in 10 billion years. This brief flash lit up the whole sky. Afterward, a much softer and more long-lasting glow replaced it. Watching this fading light, astronomers on Earth noticed a strange infrared signal. It was invisible to the human eye but could be perceived as heat.

After examining the phenomenon with X-ray, radio, optical, and infrared waves, the astrophysics team made a shocking conclusion. It seemed that people had finally seen a newborn magnetar – for the first time ever! It was likely formed after two neutron stars had merged. It resulted in a kilonova – one of the brightest and largest stellar blasts. Its light finally reached our planet on May 22, 2020. Okay, you’re right, let’s first figure out what all these “novas,” magnetars, and neutron stars are.

#brightside

TIMESTAMPS:
What’s a supernova? 1:22
A white dwarf 2:17
The most extreme objects in the Universe 3:16
What a magnetar is 4:16
Neutron stars are weird and scary 4:59
… but magnetars are scarier 6:38
Kilonova 9:44

Music by Epidemic Sound

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