Afternoon of Extravagant Delight

Hi I'm Zach.


"The process of delving into the black abyss is to me the keenest form of fascination."
-H.P. Lovecraft

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The bipolar star-forming region, called Sharpless 2-106, or S106 as seen from Hubble.
Credits to: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Magnetar in Westerlund 1

This artist’s impression shows the magnetar in the very rich and young star cluster Westerlund 1.

Image Credit: ESO/L. Calçada

This remarkable cluster contains hundreds of very massive stars, some shining with a brilliance of almost one million suns. European astronomers have for the first time demonstrated that this magnetar — an unusual type of neutron star with an extremely strong magnetic field — was formed from a star with at least 40 times as much mass as the Sun.

The result presents great challenges to current theories of how stars evolve, as a star as massive as this was expected to become a black hole, not a magnetar.