nNew research is helping to explain one of the big questions that has plagued astrophysicists for the past 30 years – what causes the changing brightness of distant stars called magnetars.
Magnetars were formed by stellar explosions or supernovae and they have an extremely strong magnetic fields, estimated at about 100 million,, millions of times larger than the magnetic one field found on the ground.
The magnetic field of each magnetar generates intense heat and X-rays. it is so strong affects the physical properties of matter, especially the way that the heat is jointnducted through the crust of the star and on its surface, creating variations in brightness that puzzled astrophysicists and astronomers.
A team of scientists – led by Dr. Andrew Igoshev at the University of Leeds – he hass develop a mathematical model tcap simulates the way the magnetic field violates the conventional understanding of heat is spreading which leads to hotter and cooler regions where there may be temperature difference from one million degrees Celsius.
These hotter and colder regions emit different X-rays intensity – and this is this variation in the intensity of X-rays which is observed as changing brightness by space telescopes.
Findings – Strong toroidal magnetic fields required for stationary X-ray radiation of magnetars – have been published today in the diary Natural astronomy. The study was funded by the Scientific and Technological Facilities Council (STFC).
Dr. Igoshev, from Leeds School of Mathematics 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 thus, helps explain data captured by satellite telescopes over several decades and which left astronomers scratching their heads why the brightness of the magnetars seems vary.
“Our research involves the formulation of mathematical equations that describe how the physics of magnetic fields and heat distribution would be kept below on extreme conditions which exist on these stars.
“Let me formulate them equations it took time, but it was direct. The big challenge was writing on the computer code to solve the equations – that they took more than three years.”
Once the code was written, he took it super–computer to solve the equations, allowing scientists to develop their predictive model.
The team uses STFC-funded DiRAC supercomputer facilities at the University of Leicester.
Dr. Igoshev said once model had have been developed, si forecasts have been tested against data collected from space-transferred observatories. The model was correct in ten of the 19 cases.
Mlambs studies as part of the investigation are in on Milky Way and usually At a distance of 15 thousand light years.
Reference: “Strong toroidal magnetic fields required by fixed X-rays of magnetars” by Andrei P. Igoshev, Rainer Hollerbach, Toby Wood and Konstantinos N. Gurguliatos, October 12, 2020, Natural astronomy.
DOI: 10.1038 / s41550-020-01220-z
The other members of the research team were Professor REiner Hollerbach, too from Leeds, Dr. Toby Wood of the University of Newcastle,, and Dr. Constantiour N Gurguliatos, from the University of Patras in Greece.