New type of stars reveals the mystery of the birth of magnetars

Scientists have investigated an extremely unusual star HD 45166, which is rich in helium. They come to the conclusion that it has incredibly strong magnetic fields. Researchers believe that it is from such objects that magnetars are usually formed.

Helium star. Source: Wikipedia

Unusual star

Two scientists working at the European Southern Observatory published a study in which they described a new type of luminaries — helium magnetic stars. According to researchers, their existence may be the key to solving other mysteries of the Universe. 

The starting point for their research was the star HD 45166. It has been known for more than 100 years and all this time scientists cannot understand what causes its strange characteristics. It is very similar to the Wolf-Rayet stars, but still significantly different from them. In addition, it is known that it has a companion. 

In order to solve the mystery of HD 45166, a powerful spectrograph installed on the Canadian-French-Hawaiian telescope was used and turned to the archive of observations. 

How pulsars are born

The result of the study was the conclusion that HD 45166 is really a massive helium star. And all its strange characteristics are explained by the fact that it has an incredibly powerful magnetic field. Its value reaches 42 thousand gauss. This is comparable to the most powerful magnets created by humans. However, in this case we are talking about the entire surface of a giant star.

The most interesting thing is that, according to scientists, HD 45166 will turn into a magnetar in the future. It will survive a supernova explosion, compact to a size comparable to the Earth, but its charge will remain, as a result of which the magnetic field power will increase to 100 million gauss. 

This is exactly what magnetars look like — neutron stars that have the strongest magnetic fields in the Universe. Scientists have been observing them for quite a long time. Previously, it was assumed that they were formed from some kind of charged stars, but what kind of objects they were became clear only now.

In addition to all of the above, scientists have learned that HD 45166 has a smaller mass than previously thought, and its companion rotates at a greater distance. They also found that the main component of the system was formed during the merger.

According to

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