Modelling extreme magnetic fields and temperature variation on distant stars


IMAGE: The maps show the heat distribution. The bue regions are cooler – and the yellow regions are hotter.

It describes data taken from the following magentars: 4U 0142+61, 1E 1547.0-5408, XTE…
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Credit: University of Leeds

New research is helping to explain one of the big questions that has perplexed astrophysicists for the past 30 years – what causes the changing brightness of distant stars called magnetars.

Magnetars were formed from stellar explosions or supernovae and they have extremely strong magnetic fields, estimated to be around 100 million, million times greater than the magnetic field found on earth.

The magnetic field generates intense heat and x-rays. It is so strong it also affects the physical properties of matter, most notably the way that heat is conducted through the crust of the star and across its surface, creating the variations in brightness across the star which has puzzled

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A Distant Blue Star Hosts One of the Most Extreme Exoplanets Known to Science

The newly deployed CHEOPS space telescope has completed its first observations of an exoplanet, uncovering some fascinating new details about an ultra-hot Jupiter known as WASP-189b.

Artistic impression of exoplanet WASP-189b orbiting its host star, which glows in blue.

© Image: ESA
Artistic impression of exoplanet WASP-189b orbiting its host star, which glows in blue.

Hot Jupiters are Jupiter-like exoplanets located in close proximity to their host stars, hence their name. Ultra-hot Jupiters are basically the same thing, but, as you’ve probably guessed, they’re even hotter. Back in 2018, astronomers using the ground-based WASP-South telescope in South Africa detected an ultra-hot Jupiter dubbed WASP-189b, unlike anything seen before.


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Two years later, using the brand-spanking-new Characterising Exoplanet Satellite (CHEOPS) space telescope, astronomers have gazed upon this celestial wonder with new eyes, refining what we know of this unusual exoplanet, while at the same time affirming the tremendous potential of this European space telescope, which only began making scientific observations this past April.

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