Astronomers have for the first time probed the magnetic fields in the mysterious inner regions of stars, finding they are strongly magnetised. Using a technique called asteroseismology, the scientists were able to calculate the magnetic field strengths in the fusion-powered hearts of dozens of red giants, stars that are evolved versions of our Sun.
An international team of astronomers used the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) to investigate 35 edge-on spiral galaxies at distances from 11 million to 137 million light-years from Earth. The study has revealed that “haloes” of cosmic rays and magnetic fields above and below the galaxies’ discs are much more common than previously thought.
Earth-like planets orbiting close to small stars probably have magnetic fields that protect them from stellar radiation and help maintain surface conditions that could be conducive to life, according to research from astronomers at the University of Washington just published in the journal Astrobiology.
NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph satellite, or IRIS, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA)/NASA’s Hinode solar observatory, have just made a significant step towards understanding why the corona — the outermost, wispy layer of the Sun’s atmosphere — is hundreds of times hotter than the lower photosphere, which is the Sun’s visible surface.
Observations with the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) have revealed what seems to be a gigantic flare on the surface of Mira, one of the closest and most famous red giant stars in the sky. Activity like this in red giants — similar to what we see in the Sun — comes as a surprise to astronomers.
Magnetars are dense, collapsed stars that possess enormously powerful magnetic fields. At a distance that could be as small as 0.3 light-years from the 4-million-solar mass black hole in the centre of our Milky Way galaxy, magnetar SGR 1745-2900 is by far the closest neutron star to a supermassive black hole ever discovered and is likely in its gravitational grip.