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Neutron Star’s Radio Jets Shoot Down Theory

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Astronomers have detected radio jets from a neutron star with a strong magnetic field – something not predicted by current theory.

“Neutron stars are stellar corpses,” said study co-author A/Prof James Miller-Jones of the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research. “They’re formed when a massive star runs out of fuel and undergoes a supernova, with the central parts of the star collapsing under their own gravity. This collapse causes the star’s magnetic field to increase in strength to several trillion times that of our own Sun, which then gradually weakens again over hundreds of thousands of years.”

University of Amsterdam PhD student Jakob van den Eijnden, who led the research published in Nature (, said neutron stars and black holes are sometimes found in orbit with a nearby companion star. “Gas from the companion star feeds the neutron star or black hole, and produces spectacular displays when some of the material is blasted out in powerful jets travelling at close to the speed of light,” he said.

Astronomers have known about jets for decades but, until the observation of Swift J0243.6+6124, had only observed jets coming from neutron stars with much weaker magnetic fields. The prevailing belief was that a sufficiently strong...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.