Questions for “Exploding neutron star proves to be energy standout of the cosmos”

a flare from a magnetar, illustrated

A giant flare in April 2020 was picked up by space telescopes, last year. It was then tracked back to a magnetar (illustrated) — a highly magnetized dense stellar remnant — its home galaxy.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Chris Smith/USRA/GESTAR

To accompany Exploding neutron star proves to be energy standout of the cosmos


Before Reading:

1.  How do we see stars? How do they make themselves known in the night sky?

2.  Some stars flare with unexpectedly intense brightness. What do you think makes this happen?

During Reading:

1.  What is a magnetar?

2.  How did astrophysicists observe the new magnetar flare?

3.  What type of light did the magnetar flare emit?

4.  When did the flare apparently take place and when did researchers report it?

5.  From what other source did astrophysicists first think the flare of light came from?   

6.  What made them suspicious that there was another explanation for it?

7.  What do scientists think happened to make the magnetar flare? How did this event compare to the 1960 Chilean earthquake?

After Reading:

1.  Do some research on neutron stars. (There are a number of sources on the Science News for Students website and at How big are these objects? Why do astronomers refer to them as stellar corpses? What about them makes them hard to see (at least from Earth)?