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31st of July 2023
A new type of stellar object
by Natasha Hurley-Walker et al.
Hurley-Walker et al. have discovered a new type of stellar object that challenges our understanding of the physics of neutron stars. The object named GPM J1839−10, could be an ultra-long period magnetar, a rare type of star with extremely strong magnetic fields that can produce powerful bursts of energy. Until recently, all known magnetars released energy at intervals ranging from a few seconds to a few minutes. The newly discovered object emits radio waves every 22 minutes, making it the longest period magnetar ever detected.

GPM J1839-10 was discovered using the Murchison Widefield Array, and follow-up observations were made with the ATCA, ASKAP, Parkes/Murriyang and MeerKAT radio-telescopes. Searches of archival data yielded further detections as far back as 1988 by the Very Large Array (VLA) in the USA and the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in India. The pulse widths range between 30 and 300 s and can appear anywhere within an approximately 400-s-wide window. The morphologies and brightnesses of the observed pulses change markedly with time, sometimes disappearing below detectability, even for the very sensitive MeerKAT observations.

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