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Magnetic Fields of Neutron Stars

  1. Apr 4, 2003 #1
    It is a known fact that neutron stars and pulsars, remnants of super nova explosions, have very strong magnetic fields. It is said that the collapse of the core amplifies the magnetic field of the progenitor. This is due to the fact that the magnetic fields lines are drawn closer together during the collapse by the contracting material. The magnetic fields of neutron stars and pulsars are millions, even trillions of times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field. The current "lighthouse" model for a pulsar describes two hotspots on the surface of the star that lie along the magnetic axis generating beams of out going radiation that produce the characteristic pulses of these stars.

    How is it that the magnetic field of these stars is able to retain its stability for so long if the star is essentially made up of neutral matter (neutrons)? My current speculation is that there must be some sort of other particle mediating the electromagnetic force within the neutron stars, perhaps the W or Z boson; which are weak nuclear force carriers that are produced in various nuclear processes such as beta decay. Moving charge, variable electric fields and other phenomena can generate magnetic fields, but neutrons alone cannot generate these fields unless something else is going on or there are other particles involved. How are the high magnetic fields of neutron stars and pulsars sustained?
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 4, 2003 #2


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    Because Neutron stars are not of a consistant structure or uniformity throughout. See the info at:

    It explains at several places on the page the workings of a neutron star that give rise to the huge magnetic fields.
  4. Apr 4, 2003 #3
    Thanks for the link Labguy. So essentially a neutron star isn’t made up entirely of neutrons. I completely overlooked the fact that the star might have various stratified layers particularly the “atmosphere” consisting primarily of iron nuclei. Thanks again for the info. :smile:
  5. Apr 4, 2003 #4

    Try also Scientific American February 2003, "Magnetars," page 34. I believe the maintenance of the magnetic field is due to quantum-statistical Fermi-Dirac effects as well as the rate of spin of that neutron star. The latter I liken to blue giants (magnetars) burning out more rapidly than white dwarves (conventional pulsar). The greater the spin and thus field, the shorter its duration.
  6. Apr 6, 2003 #5
    Uhmm, and

    It should also be noted that neutrons are known to have their own magnetic field, small, exceedingly small, but it is there.

    Coalesence, and amplification, could easily lead to this being an aspect of the entire magnetic fields strength, and origin.

    After all, a neutrons composition is a positron (positive) and an electron (negative) within, what had been a proton, and those are the two energies of magnets. (when contained within one object)
  7. Apr 6, 2003 #6
    What is the neutron vs proton electric moment numerically? Exceedingly small?
  8. Apr 8, 2003 #7
    What you are asking about, and talking about is a Magnestar, do a search for them, they are a fringe topic and don't get alot of coverage.
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