NASA astronomers have discovered a unique type of neutron star for the first time just outside the Milky Way Galaxy with the help of the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Southern Observatory’s “Very Large Telescope” in Chile, the Daily Beast reports.
The neutron star was spotted among the remains of a supernova, or the spectacular explosion of a star at the end of its life, about 200,000 light years from Earth in what is known as the Small Magellanic Cloud. What makes the neutron star rare is the fact that it has a low magnetic field and no neighboring stars, which led NASA to describe it as “lonely” in its press release.
Only two other known neutron stars are similarly isolated. Astronomers believe that the star got kicked aside from the sheer force of the supernova’s explosion, or that its current spot is actually the location of the supernova’s explosion, creating the “optical ring” that astronomers have spotted encircling the star. The new star is described in the April issue of Nature Astronomy.