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Space & Astronomy

Strongest known magnetic source discovered

By T.K. Randall
August 15, 2013 · Comment icon 24 comments



Image Credit: NASA
Astronomers have identified what appears to be the most powerful magnetic field in the known universe.
The source is the core of a collapsed star which is located around 6,500 light years from the Earth. Packing the mass of the Sun in to an area measuring just 12 miles across, the object is producing a magnetic field that is so strong that it is the most powerful known magnetic source anywhere, the equivalent to about 20 trillion fridge magnets.

"Until very recently, all indications were that this magnetar had one of the weakest surface magnetic fields known," said study leader Dr Andrea Tiengo. "However, we suspected that SGR 0418 was in fact hiding a much stronger magnetic field, out of reach of our usual analytical techniques."
Astronomers estimate that it produces a magnetic field around 20 trillion times stronger than a standard refrigerator door magnet. The dead star is a kind of neutron star called a magnetar the dead core of a once massive star that has collapsed in on itself.


Source: Telegraph | Comments (24)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #15 Posted by pallidin 10 years ago
Say Waspie, when you come back to this site: Your subtitle says..."One of (the) strongest magnetic fields in (the) Universe" Do you know what currently is the leader? I presume it's a magnetar, or something done on Earth. And how strong is it, say, compared to the 20 trillion fridge magnetic strength suggested for this magnetar?
Comment icon #16 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 10 years ago
Do you know what currently is the leader? I presume it's a magnetar, or something done on Earth. And how strong is it, say, compared to the 20 trillion fridge magnetic strength suggested for this magnetar? All very good questions to which I have no good answers.
Comment icon #17 Posted by keithisco 10 years ago
I was going to leave UM for the entirety of August, just to have a break.... but this is some of the worst Science that I have ever had the displeasure to read. How about actually using th SI Unit of magnetism (the Tesla) to try and describe this phenomena? How has the Flux Density been derived? 6500 light years away? and to be honest the "Trillions" of fridge magnets is by far, the worst analogy in the Universe because absolutely NO value for a fridge magnet is given. I truly despair of some of the science on this site...
Comment icon #18 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 10 years ago
I love the way Mr. Gray, who likes to imagine himself to be a science correspondent, goes to great length to explain to us bonehead readers what the unit used to measure magnetic fields is. Let's see: "They calculated that SGR 0418 must have a magnetic field of more than 1 quadrillion, or 1,000 trillion, guass, the unit used to measure the strength of a magnetic field. By comparison, the iron core of the Earth is thought to have a magnetic field of 25 guass." Anything seem wrong with that to anyone? You don't make the same typo twice now do ya? Even my browser corrects it for me in this reply.... [More]
Comment icon #19 Posted by minera 10 years ago
I love the way Mr. Gray, who likes to imagine himself to be a science correspondent, goes to great length to explain to us bonehead readers what the unit used to measure magnetic fields is. Let's see: "They calculated that SGR 0418 must have a magnetic field of more than 1 quadrillion, or 1,000 trillion, guass, the unit used to measure the strength of a magnetic field. By comparison, the iron core of the Earth is thought to have a magnetic field of 25 guass." Anything seem wrong with that to anyone? You don't make the same typo twice now do ya? Even my browser corrects it for me in this reply.... [More]
Comment icon #20 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 10 years ago
The Gauss principle is named after the mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss. an easy mistake to transpose letters. not everyone uses spellcheck. I suspect Rolci is aware of what the Gauss is. It was the fact that is was spelt Guass twice in a, supposedly, high quality national newspaper that he was pointing out. Although, of course, the fact that he totally omitted to mention where the quote came from made his post rather pointless.
Comment icon #21 Posted by pallidin 10 years ago
I was going to leave UM for the entirety of August, just to have a break.... but this is some of the worst Science that I have ever had the displeasure to read. How about actually using th SI Unit of magnetism (the Tesla) to try and describe this phenomena? How has the Flux Density been derived? 6500 light years away? and to be honest the "Trillions" of fridge magnets is by far, the worst analogy in the Universe because absolutely NO value for a fridge magnet is given. I truly despair of some of the science on this site... As a non-physicist, I actually appreciate something related in terms th... [More]
Comment icon #22 Posted by keithisco 10 years ago
As a non-physicist, I actually appreciate something related in terms that a layman might grasp(20 trillion fridge magnets) as opposed to the more specific definitions. This is not a "scientific" site. However, there is one that is quite admirable... www.physicsforums.com if you so desire. Maybe I should have said "referenced Science Articles"... To be honest I cannot even grasp how big 20 Trillion is!!Cant really get my head to imagine what 20 Trillion Fridge Magnets would look like.... I have been a contributor to Physicsforum for many years and whilst it is indeed an admirable site, it is al... [More]
Comment icon #23 Posted by Whatsinausername 10 years ago
Only 20 trillion fridge magenets? Watch out SGR0418...I'm closing in on you rapidly and will soon become the strongest magnetic source in the universe BWAHAHAHA I'm going for 20 trillion and one magnets - fear my wrath!
Comment icon #24 Posted by brlesq1 10 years ago
I wonder what the prior analytical techniques were that gave them such a wrong answer.


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