NASA telescope spots cosmic "cannonball" crossing space


Jayanne English, University of Manitoba / NRAO / F. Schinzel et al., DRAO / Canadian Galactic Plane Survey and NASA / IRAS

NASA astronomers discovered a pulsar crossing the space like a hyperspeed cosmic cannonball, traveling at 2.5 millions of miles per hour – five times faster than your average pulsar.

At this speed, he travels at an astonishing 694 miles per second. If you could somehow build a gun capable of pulling this pulsar from the starboard side of your pirate ship in the Atlantic Ocean, it would circle the Earth and hit your port side 35 seconds later. Arrrr!

Next to the pirate ships, a pulsar is the fast spinning star left behind by the explosion of a massive supernova. Astronomers believe that the explosion can send the pulsar in space like a cannonball. This one, named PSR J0002 + 6216, was discovered using NASA's gamma-ray Fermi Gamma space telescope, launched for the first time in space in 2008, as well as a new one. a series of terrestrial radio telescopes called the very large Karl G. Jansky network.

PSR J0002 + 6216 – or "J0002" – is not like most of the others, standard, boring, pulsars we saw before. No, J0002, it's like the Sonic version the hedgehog of a pulsar – faster than 99% of those we've measured in the past. Thanks to Fermi, launched in 2008, there is a decade of data to analyze J0002, which means that the research team could provide an accurate measure of its movements.

"The longer the data series, the more powerful the pulsar synchronization technique is," said Matthew Kerr, a researcher at the US Naval Research Laboratory. "Fermi's beautiful decadal data set is essentially what made this measure possible."

J0002 is currently about 6,500 light-years away in a constellation known as Cassiopeia and 53 light-years away from the remains of a huge stellar explosion called CTB 1. This explosion took place about 10 years ago. 000 years and resulted in a rapidly expanding bubble of gas that engulfed the pulsar.

But about 5,000 years ago, the incredibly fast pulsar would have burst into the ghostly gas cloud and would have continued to spin at full speed, producing the fabulous image at the top of this article showing a yellowish trail. This tail looks small in the picture, but it extends 13 light years behind the cosmic cannonball.

The tail also allows astronomers to trace the origin of the pulsar, which gives them a better chance of understanding how it's formed and how it was ejected from the supernova explosion.

"Further study of this object will help us better understand how these explosions are able to" give "such a speed to neutron stars," said Frank Schinzel, a scientist at the National Observatory of Radio Astronomy.

The pulsar was discovered in 2017 as part of a citizen-science project known as Einstein @ Home. This project uses the processing power of failed computers to search the Fermi mountain of data for indications of a pulsar and, to date, has allowed the discovery of 23 data.

The work will be published in an upcoming edition of Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Source link