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Has the Speediest Pulsar Been Found?

pulsars xmm-newton chandra x-ray astronomy radio astronomy

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#1    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 09:51 PM

IGR J11014-6103: Has the Speediest Pulsar Been Found?


chandra.harvard.edu said:

Researchers using three different telescopes -- NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA's XMM-Newton in space, and the Parkes radio telescope in Australia -- may have found the fastest moving pulsar ever seen.

The evidence for this potentially record-breaking speed comes, in part, from the features highlighted in this composite image. X-ray observations from Chandra (green) and XMM-Newton (purple) have been combined with infrared data from the 2MASS project and optical data from the Digitized Sky Survey (colored red, green and blue, but appearing in the image as white).

The large area of diffuse X-rays seen by XMM-Newton was produced when a massive star exploded as a supernova, leaving behind a debris field, or supernova remnant known as SNR MSH 11-16A. Shocks waves from the supernova have heated surrounding gas to several million degrees Kelvin, causing the remnant to glow brightly in X-rays.

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#2    StarMountainKid

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 02:53 AM

So, the pulsar existed near the supernova explosion and was ejected from its original location?

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#3    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 08:33 AM

View PostStarMountainKid, on 30 June 2012 - 02:53 AM, said:

So, the pulsar existed near the supernova explosion and was ejected from its original location?
Not quite.

The pulsar has been ejected from its original location, but it did not exist before the supernova, it was created by it.

When a star goes supernova the explosion occurs in layers above the core. The outer layers are blown out into space. The inner layers are compressed forming either a neutron star or a black hole

Some neutron stars emit a beam of radio waves and as they rotate this beam sweeps through space rather like a light house beam. When these radio waves are detected from earth it appears that the neutron star is pulsing, hence the name.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#4    StarMountainKid

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 04:51 PM

From my reading of the article, it wasn't clear to me if the pulsar was the remains of the star itself that went supernova or not.

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#5    Charlie Prime

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 03:21 PM

How fast is this pulsar?

Edited by Charlie Prime, 01 July 2012 - 03:21 PM.


#6    Lcvec

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 06:08 AM

View PostStarMountainKid, on 30 June 2012 - 04:51 PM, said:

From my reading of the article, it wasn't clear to me if the pulsar was the remains of the star itself that went supernova or not.

I didn't get that either. I thought it would have to be a binary star for that to happen, but then again I can't say I know how stars work.


#7    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 08:34 PM

View PostCharlie Prime, on 01 July 2012 - 03:21 PM, said:

How fast is this pulsar?
If you had read the full article you would know.

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IGR J11014 is moving at a speed between 5.4 million and 6.5 million miles per hour.


"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#8    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 08:44 PM

View PostStarMountainKid, on 30 June 2012 - 04:51 PM, said:

From my reading of the article, it wasn't clear to me if the pulsar was the remains of the star itself that went supernova or not.

I can see what you mean, this passage in particular is rather ambiguous:

Quote

It may be a rapidly spinning, super-dense star (known as a "pulsar", a type of neutron star) that was ejected during the explosion. If so, it is racing away from the center of the supernova remnant at millions of miles per hour.

To the best of my knowledge neutron stars are always formed by supernovae in the manner I described earlier. What is confusing is that the article says that the pulsar is moving away from the supernova remnant. My assumption is that the pulsar is racing away fr the nebula produced as the stars outer layers were hurled into space by the explosion.

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf, 02 July 2012 - 08:45 PM.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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