Extreme Magnetic Fields and Temperature Variation of Distant Magnetars

The maps show the heat distribution. The bue regions are cooler – and the yellow regions are hotter. It describes data taken from the following magnetars: 4U 0142+61, 1E 1547.0-5408, XTE J1810-197, SGR 1900 + 14. Credit: University of Leeds

New research is helping to explain one of the big questions that has perplexed astrophysicists for the past 30 years — what causes the changing brightness of distant stars called magnetars.

Magnetars were formed from stellar explosions or supernovae and they have extremely strong magnetic fields, estimated to be around 100 million, million times greater than the magnetic field found on earth

The magnetic field on each magnetar generates intense heat and x-rays.  It is so strong it affects the physical properties of matter, most notably the way that heat is conducted through the crust of the star and across its surface, creating the variations in brightness which has puzzled astrophysicists and astronomers.

Simulation 1 animation. Credit: University of Leeds

A team of scientists — led by Dr. Andrei Igoshev at the University of Leeds – hadeveloped a mathematical model that simulates the way the magnetic field disrupts the conventional understanding of heat being distributed uniformly which results in hotter and cooler regions where there may be a difference in temperature of one million degrees Celsius.

Those hotter and cooler regions emit x-rays of differing intensity – and it is that variation in x-ray intensity that is observed as changing brightness by space-borne telescopes. 

The findings — Strong toroidal magnetic fields required by quiescent X-ray emission of magnetars — have been published today in the journal Nature Astronomy. The research was funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). 

Dr. Igoshev, from the School of Mathematics at Leeds, said: We see this constant pattern of hot and cold regions. Our model – based on the physics of magnetic fields and the physics of heat — predicts the size, location and temperature of these regions — and in doing so, helps explain the data captured by satellite telescopes over several decades and which has left astronomers scratching their heads as to why the brightness of magnetars seemed to vary.

The maps show the heat distribution. The blue regions are cooler – and the yellow regions are hotter. It describes data taken from the following magnetars: SGR 0418+5729, PSR J1119-6127, CXOU J164710.0-455216, CXOU J171405.7-381031, Swift J1822.3-1606, 1E 1841-045. Credit: University of Leeds

Our research involved formulating mathematical equations that describe how the physics of magnetic fields and heat distribution would behave under the extreme conditions that exist on these stars

“To formulate those equations took time but was straightforward. The big challenge was writing the computer code to solve the equations — that took more than three years.”

Once the code was written, it then took a supercomputer to solve the equations, allowing the scientists to develop their predictive model. 

The team used the STFC-funded DiRAC supercomputing facilities at the University of Leicester. 

Dr. Igoshev said once the model had been developed, its predictions were tested against the data collected by space-borne observatories. The model was correct in ten out of 19 cases.

The magnetars studied as part of the investigation are in the Milky Way and typically 15 thousand light years away.

Reference: “Strong toroidal magnetic fields required by quiescent X-ray emission of magnetars” by Andrei P. Igoshev, Rainer Hollerbach, Toby Wood and Konstantinos N. Gourgouliatos, 12 October 2020, Nature Astronomy.
DOI: 10.1038/s41550-020-01220-z

The other members of the research team were Professor Rainer Hollerbach, also from Leeds, Dr. Toby Wood, from the University of Newcastle, and Dr. Konstantinos N Gourgouliatos, from the University of Patras in Greece.

AstronomyAstrophysicsMagnetarPopularStarsUniversity of Leeds
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  • Shrikant

    भारतामध्ये जी पुरातन, प्राचीन शिव लिंग असलेली मंदिरे आहेत तेथे सर्तन लोकेशन वर फक्त मग्नेटिक strength आढळते. ती strength उपकरणाने मोजता येते. उपकरणात बंद width pan दिसते आणि डिजिटल वाचन सुद्धा दिसते. त्याची स्त्रेंगठं ३० पासून १०० मायक्रो टेस्ला पेक्षा जास्त सुद्धा असी शकते.
    बंद कलर हिरवा, पिवळा व लाल असतो. लाल म्हणजे डेंजर झोन. फॉर द परपाज, नो वन इज परमित्तेड टू बी थेर फॉर लॉंगर टाईम. इट्स hazardous for human body to be in the vicinity for a long time duration. Being females having different anotomy of their body as compared to male; hence females are prohibited to enter inside (Extremely) in Shivaji temple; as per mythology and had experienced by the sender. You believe or don’t but the phenomenon is in existence.

    Good Luck to reach, pray but follow rules, regulations, code of conduct and rituals as per हिंदुसथानांतील muthologu. Very very strict at Western, Northen, South and Eastern India.
    God may bless devotees according to their KARMA’s.

    If you wish, try once, twicw, thrice and have Experience.

    Good Luck once again.

    But if couldn’t experienced anything, then blame to self.

  • Shrikant

    Whatever the Science is proving / displaying now through various electrical and electronics gadgets; more over to those was in existence.

    We are frustrated for not experincizing the same without any media because we have two eyes, two ears, tow nostrils – but comon internally forming single. However we are unable to sense and feel each thing; because we have eyes but no proper vision. Though we have good, excellent vision, we are unable to develope Super and Extra Larege and nano supervision.

    Every thing needs to be developed patiently, punctually and guidence of Expert teachers. If we learn the same, one could achieve real telepathy ! GOD IS GREAT, GOD IS ONE, BUT TRUTH IS ONLY RELIGION. Where we are lacking.

    Thanking in Anticipation !!

    Best Regards to be Egoless is the very FIRST STEP TO STEP UP AND CLIMB FURTHER !!!!!!

  • Torbjörn Larsson

    The two comments on superstition – apparently a misogynistic one at that – do not belong on a science thread. It is telling that they don’t even try to mention anything else.

    Also, speaking of astronomy, since 2018 we are sure that space is on average flat over sufficiently large volumes. Which means that it thermodynamically as well as relativistically sums to zero energy and we can tell that it is all nature and no religious magic exist. Apparently there are no ‘gods’. Quoting myth instead of evidence just underlines the observed fact.

  • Torbjörn Larsson

    “The model was correct in ten out of 19 cases.”

    Meanwhile, in the real world, it is of course a great achievement to come up with a model that match half the observations! If we are lucky it is correct and can be improved on.

  • Frosted Flake

    “Truth is only religion”, he says.

    Way to torture the language, Shrikant. You have created a verbal mobius strip. Congratulations.