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Huge Quake Cracks Star

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posted on Sep, 27 2005 @ 02:15 PM
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Huge Quake Cracks Star

By Bjorn Carey
LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 27 September 2005
12:01 am ET


Astronomers have found the first evidence of cracks in a neutron star's crust. The star cracked when it was rocked by the strongest "starquake" ever recorded, researchers said last week.

Last December, astronomers worldwide monitored the explosion that caused this starquake. The eruption was huge – in the first 200 milliseconds of the event the star released energy equivalent to what our Sun produces in 250,000 years. It was the brightest explosion ever detected outside of the Milky Way.

Now scientists have used a collection of data from various satellites to provide the first observational evidence that the blast caused the star to form cracks several miles long. Scientists hope these cracks will provide a window into the mysterious interiors of neutron stars.

There are millions of neutron stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone, and some of these have magnetic fields trillions of times stronger than Earth's, the strongest of which are called magnetars.

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