Anyone else see a big turtle in that nebula, or is it just me?
Sorry to drag the intellectual level of the comments down, by the way :).
Astronomers have found a “wind nebula” around a rare ultra-magnetic neutron star for the first time. Neutron stars are commonly found as pulsars – incredibly energetic fast spinning neutron stars which release radio, visible light, X-rays and gamma rays. They have strong magnetic fields that are 100 billion to 10 trillion …
Those pictures of unimaginably vast volumes of space, of structures and events many millions of years old... it leaves me pretty much speechless every time.
I feel humbled and, in some ways, filled with hope that we'll overcome our obsession with the various forms of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and live up to our potential and go interstellar.
The Milky Way is comprised of billions of stars (reasonable estimates peg the max total at 400 billion, but apparently up to a trillion is possible.
So let's say 400 billion stars. Of those, an estimated 100 million are neutron stars (ain't science fun when you're inventing numbers ?). That would mean 0.025% of stars are neutron stars.
If this article is right, we have found 2,900 neutron stars so far. Of those, 29 are magnetars, only 1% of the neutron star population.
So magnetars are 0.00025% of all stars.
Yup, that's pretty rare.
That's a pretty low percentage, but your calculations do in fact suggest there's a million of the things out there, and a million of anything that's as bells as a magnetar has to be considered in some sense as "a lot".
Then again, given that we've only found 29 out of the million magnetars theoretically out there, suggests that we have only observed %0.0029 of the galaxy according to the magnetar metric, which means that in accordance with certain authorities, space is "frikkin big".
What we can all agree on is that as some of the densest, most magnetic matter out there, once we get our hands on one of these things and mine it, we are going to set up the most badass headphone company in the history of mankind.
Space is not only frikkin' big, it just might be infinite.
And if it is, then there is an infinite number of magnetars. If we do attain the necessary technological level to allow us to mine those babies, it will ensure a bright future for said badass phone company.
Until the heat death of the Universe, that is.
Infinite space does not imply infinite matter.
You can spread out the matter you've got until the cows come home, but you can still only squish what you've got in to some finite amount of neutron stars. Even if you keep pulling them apart and squishing them back together, as you say, you're on the clock against the heat death of the universe.
At least, that is my understanding.
Still, I'd like to keep such massively dense matter away from my head, lest it gets squashed.
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