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January 6, 2020 - A Magnetar is Born

A Magnetar is Born  Some 160,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a companion galaxy of our own Milky Way, a delicate nebula harbors a rare star with a very magnetic personality. Known as N 49, this nebula is a remnant of a massive star that died thousands of years ago.  This filamentary material will eventually be recycled into building new generations of stars in the LMC, much as our own Sun and planets are composed of debris of supernovae that exploded in the Milky Way billions of years ago. At the heart of N 49 is a massive spinning neutron star (also called a pulsar), a common result of a supernova explosion. But N 49 also has a magnetic field a thousand trillion times stronger than Earth’s magnetic field, placing the star into an exclusive class of objects called magnetars.

Image credit: NASA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI / AURA)

Weekly Calendar

January 6 - 12, 2020

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 6

1998: Lunar Prospector launched

Moon phase Tuesday 7

1610: Galileo discovers Callisto, Europa, & Io
1964: First power tool for space demonstrated
1968: Surveyor 7 launched

Moon phase Wednesday 8

1587: Johann Fabricius born
1942: Stephen Hawking born
1973: Luna 21 & Lunokhod 2 launched
1987: Challenger debris buried

Moon phase Thursday 9

1839: Thomas Henderson publishes distance to Alpha Centauri
1968: Surveyor 7 lands on Moon
1990: STS-32 Columbia launched

Moon phase Friday 10

Mercury in superior conjunction
Full Moon 2:21 PM ET (Penumbral eclipse)

1946: U.S. Army bounces radar signal off the Moon
1969: Venera 6 launched

Moon phase Saturday 11

Uranus stationary

1787: William Herschel discovers Uranian moons Oberon and Titania
1978: First triple docking: Soyuz 26, Soyuz 27, Salyut 6
1996: STS-72 Endeavour launched
1998: Lunar Prospector arrives at Moon

Moon phase Sunday 12

1907: Sergei Korolev born
: STS-61C Columbia launched
1997: STS-81 Atlantis launched
2005: Deep Impact spacecraft launched

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