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The strongest magnetic field in the universe that has been directly detected by the X-ray space observatory


Neutron star

The Insight-HXMT team made a comprehensive overview of the X-ray Pulsar GR 1008-57 and discovered a magnetic field of ~ 1 billion Tesla on the surface of the neutron Star. It is the strongest magnetic field in the universe that has been conclusively found. The work, published in the Astrophysical Journal, was mainly done by scientists from the institute of High Energy Physics ( IHEP ) of the Academy of science of Tubingen, Germamny, and Eberhard  Carls University.

Scientists studied the X-ray Pulsar GR 1008-57 detected by Insight-HXMT during its outbreak in August 2017. They first discovered the Cyclotron resonant scattering feature ( CRSF ) at a significance level of > 20σ of 90 kV. ( Note that the scientific community confirms a new scientific discovery when its significance level is greater than 5σ. ). According to the theoretical calculation, the magnetic field matching this CRSF id up to 1 billion Tesla, which is millions of times stronger than that produced in Earth's lab.

Insight-HXMT is the first Chinese X-ray astronomical satellite. It includes scientific payloads including a high energy telescope, a medium energy telescope, a low energy telescope, and a space environment monitor. Compared to other X-ray satellite, Insight-HXMT detects cyclotron lines ( especially high energy ) due to their broadband ( 1-250KeV ) spectral coverage, large effective area for high energy, high time resolution, low has excellent benefits. Dead time and negligible stack up effects for bight source.

Neutron Stars are the strongest magnetic fields in the universe. Neutron Stars X-ray binaries are system consisting of a neutron star and a common stellar companion. The neutron emits start matter and form a nearby disc. If the magnetic field is strong, then as a result of extron radiations, there is a spread of the accumulated material by magnetic lines on the surface of the neutron Star.

As  a result, these source are alslo known to be ''pulsar ''. Previous studies have shown that a peculiar absorption feature ( known as the ''cyclotron resonant scattering feature'') can sometimes be found in the spectrum of an X-ray pulsar. Scientists believe that this is caused by the transition between Landau levels of electronic motion perpendicular to the magnetic field. Such a scattering feature serves as a direct probe of the magnetic fields near the surface of the neutron Stars.

The Insight-HXMT was proposed by the institute of high energy physics ( IHEP ) in the year 1993 and it was successfully launched in June in the year 2017. IHEP is responsible for scientific research involving this satellite.

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