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Artist’s impression of the magnetar in the extraordinary star cluster Westerlund 1

This artist’s impression shows the magnetar in the very rich and young star cluster Westerlund 1. This remarkable cluster contains hundreds of very massive stars, some shining with a brilliance of almost one million suns. European astronomers have for the first time demonstrated that this magnetar — an unusual type of neutron star with an extremely strong magnetic field — was formed from a star with at least 40 times as much mass as the Sun. The result presents great challenges to current theories of how stars evolve, as a star as massive as this was expected to become a black hole, not a magnetar.

Credit:

ESO/L. Calçada

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About the Image

Id:eso1034a
Type:Artwork
Release date:18 August 2010, 12:00
Related releases:eso1034
Size:4000 x 2827 px

About the Object

Name:Westerlund 1
Type:• Milky Way : Star : Evolutionary Stage : Neutron Star : Magnetar
• X - Stars
• X - Illustrations
Distance:15000 light years

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