The study overcomes the effects of Earth’s gravity, replicating conditions on other planets, stars.
A recent discovery has shed new light on one of the most intriguing phenomena in the universe. Astronomers have found an incredibly strong gravity field, approximately 1,000 times more potent than Earth’s gravity, surrounding a rare type of neutron star known as a magnetar.
The magnetar in question is located approximately 30,000 light-years away from Earth and was discovered by a team of scientists from the University of Amsterdam and the University of Cambridge. The researchers used observations from the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton satellite to measure the strength of the magnetar’s gravity field.
The magnetar’s gravity is so strong that it causes light to bend when it passes near it, a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing. “We used the distortions in the X-ray spectrum caused by the gravitational field of the magnetar to measure its gravity,” said Anna Watts, a professor at the University of Amsterdam who led the research.
The team also discovered that the magnetar’s gravity field is so intense that it causes the star’s own magnetic field to twist and bend, resulting in intense bursts of X-rays and gamma-rays. “The twists and turns of the magnetic field lines are amplified by the strong gravity, resulting in powerful explosions that can be detected from across the galaxy,” explained co-author Nanda Rea from the University of Amsterdam.
This discovery is significant as it provides new insights into the extreme physics that occur in the vicinity of magnetars, which are some of the most powerful objects in the universe. It also helps astronomers to better understand the fundamental nature of gravity and the behavior of matter in extremely strong gravitational fields.
“We have found a new way of probing some of the most extreme physics in the universe using the bending of light, which was first predicted by Einstein over 100 years ago,” said Watts. “This opens up exciting new possibilities for studying the behavior of matter and gravity in the most extreme environments in the universe.”
Via The Impactlab