Podcaster: Rob Sparks. Guest: André-Nicolas Chené

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Title: The First Magnetar Progenitor

Organization: NOIRLab

Links: NOIRLab social media channels can be found at: ; ; ; @NOIRLabAstro

NOIRLab Press Release:


Neutron stars, the compact remains of a massive star following a supernova explosion, are the densest matter in the Universe. Some neutron stars, known as magnetars, also claim the record for the strongest magnetic fields of any object. How magnetars, which are a mere 15 kilometers across, form and produce such colossal magnetic fields remains a mystery.

New observations by a team of astronomers, including NSF’s NOIRLab’s André-Nicolas Chené, may shed important light on the origin of these magnetic powerhouses. Using various telescopes around the globe, including the Canada-France-Hawai‘i Telescope (CFHT) on Maunakea [1], the researchers have identified a new type of astronomical object — a massive magnetic helium star (an unusual variant of a Wolf-Rayet star), which may be the precursor of a magnetar.

In this podcast, André-Nicolas Chené describes the process of finding the first known potential magnetar progenitor.

Bio: Rob Sparks is in the Communications, Education and Engagement group at NSF’s NOIRLab in Tucson, Arizona.

André-Nicolas Chene is an associate astronomer at NOIRLab. He completed his PhD at the Université de Montréal in 2007 and learned everything about the fundamentals of astronomical observations at the Observatoire du Mont Mégantic. He was research fellow at the NRC Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre and postdoc jointly at the Universidad de Concepción and the Universidad de Valparaíso before joining the Gemini Observatory (now a program of NOIRLab) in 2013. For almost 10 years, André-Nicolas took part in every phase of a Gemini observing program life cycle and has played a central role in Gemini’s user support effort. André-Nicolas’s research interests are massive stars, hot winds, star clusters, and stellar evolution.

End of podcast:

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