A rare star’s activity has recently surprised scientists. Star Swift J1818.0-1607 is one of the most mysterious and most awkward stars in the Universe ever detected. Scientists defined it as a magnetar and recorded it discharging scattered radio waves.
The cosmic body is the fifth magnetar spotted so far. Its way of spitting radio pulses is so strange that it makes it unique yet complicated. Swift J1818.0-1607 is acting more like a radio pulsar than a radio magnetar, and scientists might know why.
The study on the newly found magnetar
Research comprising Swift J1818.0-1607’s recent activity has made scientists wonder why the star is acting so strangely. The observations could lead to a way of connecting the traces between two classifications of dead stars, but that’s not all. Magnetars are odd little balls. They’re part of a subcategory of neutron stars that scientists still don’t know much about it.
What turned magnetars into such oddballs is their powerful magnetic fields, estimated to be almost a quadrillion times more steady than our planet. Magnetars are also extremely rare. So far, only 24 had been detected in our galaxy, but not all of them emit radio waves. Pulsars, on the other hand, are more common. Scientists have spotted almost thousands and observed them well.
These stars are quickly whirling neutron stars that discharge jets of radio radiation from their poles. Because both magnetars and pulsars are a type of neutron star, scientists expect a somehow link between them. Until now, almost no connection has been detected. First, it was believed the reason is due to the magnetic field’s power. But recent research shows otherwise. Scientists explained that most magnetars are only facing the wrong path.
Magnetars might evolve from pulsars
“The most likely reason is their radio beams don’t cross our line-of-sight. This isn’t too surprising, as their slow rotation periods and the high rate at which they’re slowing down over time causes them to have very narrow radio beams when compared to other pulsars,” detailed astrophysicist Marcus Lower from the University of Technology.
Utilizing the Parkes Observatory radio telescope in Australia, Lower and his colleagues took observations. The Swift J1818.0-1607 magnetar was spotted to be the fastest rotating pulsar discovered to date, and it is also the youngest, around 240 years. More research led the team into believing that at least some magnetars could develop from pulsars. But now, even such a result is unclear.