Astronomers have discovered a vast cloud of high-energy particles called a wind nebula around a rare ultra-magnetic neutron star, or magnetar, for the first time. The find offers a unique window into the properties, environment and outburst history of magnetars, which are the strongest magnets in the universe.
The Eagle Nebula, also known as Messier 16 (M16), as seen by ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory. A group of young, bright stars, not visible at these infrared wavelengths, are located near the centre of the image. The powerful light emitted by these stars is setting the surrounding gas ablaze, causing it to shine.