Friday, August 04, 2006

Stellar Quakes

In December 2004, a neutron star flared up so brightly, it temporarily blinded all the x-ray satellites in space, and lit up the Earth's upper atmosphere. This tremendous blast of energy was from a giant flare created by the neutron star's twisting magnetic field. Objects like this are called magnetars, and they produce magnetic fields trillions of time more powerful than those here on Earth. These fields are so strong they can actually buckle the surface of the neutron star causing these powerful star quakes.

Image credit: NASA

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