Artist’s impression of the magnetar in the 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 — probably was formed as part of a binary star system. The discovery of the magnetar’s former companion elsewhere in the cluster helps solve the mystery of how a star that started off so massive could become a magnetar, rather than collapse into a black hole.

Credit:

ESO/L. Calçada

About the Image

Id:eso1415a
Type:Artwork
Release date:14 May 2014, 12:00
Related releases:eso1415
Size:5000 x 3125 px

About the Object

Name:Westerlund 1
Type:Milky Way : Star : Evolutionary Stage : Neutron Star : Magnetar
Distance:15000 light years
Category:Illustrations

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