That’s what makes the object astronomers have found so unusual. Like all magnetars, CXOU J164710.2-455216 is a rare kind of neutron star that for as-yet-unexplained reasons possesses the most powerful magnetic field in the universe. Yet according to detailed measurements of the relative motions of the surrounding stars, the team in an upcoming issue of Astronomy & Astrophysics, that like every neighboring star, the mass of the magnetar’s progenitor must have been at least 40 times greater than the sun’s. And thus it shouldn’t be a magnetar at all, but a black hole.
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