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Magnetic field as strong as a neutron star.
Our solar system is our neighbourhood. It is what supports our life, sets us apart from other regions of space and even protects us from extra-solar visitors. Yet our knowledge of this region is frustratingly incomplete. Not only is the physical space dauntingly large but the time scale of its existence is equally vast. Giovanni Caprara in his book "The Solar System" provides us with an up to date account of what we have observed in our solar system and demonstrates some of the physical processes taking place both now and at earlier times.
A team of Astronomers were lucky enough to observe the rare event of a neutron star turning into a magnetic object called a magnetar. Ten magnetars have been seen to date, but this object, a transient magnetar, is brand new. A normal neutron star is the rapidly spinning remnant of a star that went supernova; they typically possess a very strong magnetic field. A magnetar is similar, but it has a magnetic field up to 1,000 times as strong as a Neutron star. This new discovery could indicate that magnetars are more common in the universe than previously thought.
Astronomers from the University of British Columbia have discovered that a Jupiter-sized planet is interacting with its star, causing magnetic storms. The sun-like star, HD170049, is located approximately 90 light-years away in the constellation of Sagittarius, and was found to have a planet back in 2000 by another group of astronomers. These new observations using the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope on Mauna Kea have tracked a bright spot that goes around the star keeping pace with its planet - it's been doing this for more than 100 orbits of the planet.
Engineers have found that Spirit's landing on Mars didn't go quite as smoothly as they'd hoped. It turns out that the protective airbags haven't fully retracted, and could snag the rover's solar panels as it tries to get off the landing platform. Their current plan is to lift up the landing flap, try to pull the airbag back in, and then drop the flap again. The rover sent home the first high-resolution stereo images from the surface of Mars, which have provided new details about the rover's environment - an enticing target is a low hill approximately 2 km away which could show layers of sediment.
When the second brightest supernova seen in modern times, SN 1993J, blew up several years ago, it did leave a survivor. Using the Hubble Space Telescope, and several ground-based observatories, an international team of Astronomers discovered a massive companion star that must have been orbiting the supernova at the time it exploded. This discovery is very important because it will allow Astronomers watch what the remnant of SN 1993J does to its companion star. They might even be able to detect a neutron star or black hole forming in real time.
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