New Magnetar Discovered Surrounded By a Wind Nebula

The recently discovered magnetar Swift J1834.9-0846 may lead astronomers to many breakthroughs about how these are created.

For the first time ever, a magnetar has been found with a wind nebula surrounding it, adding to the mystery of these powerful star remnants.

Magnetars are a specific type of pulsar, or celestial object that is believed to be rapidly rotating neutron stars emitting radiation, that has an intense magnetic field around it. This makes these supernova leftovers the most powerful magnets in the universe, according to Even though magnetars are around 12 to 15 miles in diameter, they are composed of highly condensed neutrons and emit regular bursts of radio spectrum energy.

To date, there have only been 29 magnetars discovered, so the sample size is on the small side. However, the newly discovered magnetar Swift J1834.9-0846 has a special feature: the “wind nebula” surrounding it. In the wind nebula, Gasses emitted by a supernova are whipped around to velocities that approach the speed of light by the pulsar at the “heart” of that former star. The observations of this wind nebula were taken at the ESA’s XMM-Newton observatory.

Initially detected by NASA’s Swift telescope in 2011, Swift J1834.9-0846 may be associated with the W41 supernova event. This would place it about 13,000 light years away.

Based on previous knowledge, astronomers believe this may be the longest lasting wind nebula ever discovered.

“Nebulas,” sophomore Shannon Price said. “They’re cool man. I rather enjoy nebulas.”

Further studies may give insight as to how these strange events are created.