The Clouds Around the Monster

storm-clouds-chile_66705_990x742Neutron stars are few kilometres sized objects that come to life when a massive star dies in a devastating supernova explosion. A few months ago a very peculiar neutron star has been discovered in an even more peculiar location of our Galaxy. A magnetar is neutron star surrounded by a magnetic field so intense that it is billion of times stronger than the strongest magnetic field ever produced in a physics lab on Earth. Place yourself in such a strong magnetic field and you won’t survive a whole second.One such magnetar has been discovered in the Galactic Center, very close to the supermassive black hole that exists there. Continue reading

First Black Hole Mass and Spin Measured with Timing

586384-3x2-940x627Imagine to have a black hole spinnig around a normal companion star like our Sun. At some point of the evolution the black hole can start removing and devouring matter from the outer layers of its companion star, in a process known as accretion. During this phase the matter becomes so hot that it shines X-rays that are detectable from X-ray space telescopes orbiting around the Earth.

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