This artist’s impression shows a supernova and associated gamma-ray burst driven by a rapidly spinning neutron star with a very strong magnetic field — an exotic object known as a magnetar. Observations from ESO’s La Silla and Paranal Observatories in Chile have for the first time demonstrated a link between a very long-lasting burst of gamma rays and an unusually bright supernova explosion. The results show that the supernova following the burst GRB 111209A was not driven by radioactive decay, as expected, but was instead powered by the decaying super-strong magnetic fields around a magnetar.

The End of Existence!

– According to my prophetic vision, today is the day existence ends!
– Oh! Exalted Leader! How long do we have left?
– Since the destruction of existence begins at the edge of the universe and travels inwards I’d say 50 billion years, give or take… Hey! Where’s everybody going?


Image shows an artist’s impression of a supernova and associated gamma-ray burst by European Southern Observatory

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