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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

NASA Satellite Tracks Rare Soft Gamma Repeater

Satellites Track Object With Magnetic Field 100 Trillion Xs Stronger Than Earth's

On Aug. 22, 2008, NASA's Swift satellite reported multiple blasts of radiation from a rare object known as a soft gamma repeater, or SGR, some 15,000 light years away. This ancient stellar remnant -one of the totally weird stars of this awesome ongoing hit movie we call the cosmos- is one the most magnetized objects in the universe. Only 15 are known to exist.

Astronomers think the eruptions of SGRs arise from the most highly magnetized objects in the universe -- magnetars, or neutron stars -- the crushed cores of exploded stars -- that, for reasons not yet known, possess ultra-strong magnetic fields. With fields 100 trillion times stronger than Earth’s, a magnetar placed half the moon’s distance would wipe the magnetic strips of every credit card on the planet.

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