Exploded View

exploded view of pulsar
Courtesy: NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center/Science@NASA

"In ordinary neutron stars the crust is stable, but in magnetars, the crust is stressed by unbearable forces as the colossal magnetic field drifts through it," says Dr. Robert Duncan of the University of Texas at Austin. "This deforms the crust and sometimes cracks it." Violent seismic waves then shake the star's surface, generating Alfven waves - the electromagnetic equivalent of a Slinky toy - which energize clouds of particles above the surface of the star.

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Last modified: Thursday, 26-Jun-2003 13:48:45 EDT