The natural universe is an amazing place. Our sun, which warms us at a distance of 96 million miles for billions of years. Black holes, with gravity fields so intense that light itself can not escape. And neutron stars…
Just after Christmas last year, the energy from a neutron star 50,000 light years away washed over earth. At that incredible distance, the energy was still intense enough to generate atmospheric displays, and to nearly overwhelm advanced sensing instruments such as the Swift observatory.
10,000 trillion trillion trillion watts released in a 10th of a second. 100,000 years of our Sun’s total output…in a tenth of a second. Enough energy that, if this neutron star had been 10 light years away (over 55,000,000,000,000 miles… thats 55 *trillion*), the energy released from it would have likely killed every living thing on earth.
Those are staggering facts. Even more impressive is that this kind of energy release is no where near the largest “burst” that an exotic star event *could* possibly release. In terms of the neutron star itself, this was nothing- just a little “hiccup”…a stellar earthquake, so to speak. Its still there, spinning at a mad rate and acting as an insanely huge magnetic engine…its humbling