“If a magnetar flew past Earth within 100,000 miles, the intense magnetic field the exotic object would destroy the data on every credit card on the planet.
This is not likely to happen, though, seeing as there are not many magnetars around. Recent research postulates that magnetars come from the death of very massive stars, which may mean that the dozen or so magnetars so far seen may be all our galaxy holds.
“The source of these very powerful magnetic objects has been a mystery since the first one was discovered in 1998,” said Bryan Gaensler from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “Now, we think we have solved that mystery.”
I like this kind of stuff.