This is the most powerful of the pulsars

In a dwarf galaxy nearly 400 million light-years from ours, the object recently caught the attention of astronomers. It may be one of the youngest and most powerful pulsars ever discovered. And researchers hope this will help them unravel the mystery of rapid radio bursts (FRB).

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When it comes to spiders, black widow spiders are those that devour their mates after mating. And astronomers have observed similar behavior in the sky. When a pulsar and a low-mass star form a binary system. Faced with pulsar radiation, stars have little chance of surviving long. (in English) © NASA Goddard

His nickname is VT 1137-0337. It nests in a dwarf galaxy that contains about 100 million times more wt ours sun and placed about 395 millionlight years of our Earth. And according to what the researchers presented in Pasadena (USA) during Congress of the American Astronomical Unionthis is one of the youngest neutron stars never detected. Pulsar, which is not more than 60-80 years old!

But all this deserves some clarification. First, remember that a neutron star is what’s left of a supermassive star that exploded again. Extremely dense residue, because it retains a diameter of only a few tens of kilometers, comparable to the mass of our Sun. And one pulsar, is a term used to denote a neutron star that rotates extremely fast around its axis. Sometimes in just a few milliseconds.

What for astronomers think they found in the data VLA Sky Surveyit’s actually what they call a nebula wind pulsar. It is formed from charged particles accelerated by a powerful one magnetic field Has gears close to light after a supernova explosion gave birth to a pulsar. This pulsar wind nebula first appeared in a photo taken in 2018.

The key to the mystery of fast bursts?

However, the neutron star that gave rise to it is probably not so young. Researchers believe that VT 1137-0337 has not appeared before because of it emission the radio was to be eclipsed by debris from the initial explosion of a supermassive star. WITH expansion from this shell the radio waves were finally able to reach us.

Note that this is not the first time astronomers have observed a pulsating wind nebula. Known crab nebula, in the constellation Taurus, is one. She was born from a supernova that appeared in 1054. And remains visible with help telescope amateurish. Difference between crab nebula and VT 1137-0337 is that the latter is at least 10,000 times more energetic. With a much stronger magnetic field. For which he received the nickname “Big crab” arising.

And the fact that its magnetic field is so strong can even throw it out of the category of pulsar wind nebula. WT 1137-0337 could hide … a magnetar. The same people who are seriously suspected of being behind it fast radio bursts. Famous FRBs are so intriguing to astronomers. More than just a magnetar, the VT 1137-0337 would then be neither more nor less than a whole the first magnetar “caught on display”.

Even more exciting, intriguing features of some fast bursts – radio bursts associated with constant radio signals – strongly reminiscent of the properties of this strange object. Which also finally raises the question: can the FRB also find its source in pulsar wind nebulae? Now astronomers intend to keep a close eye on VT 1137-0337 to learn more about this amazing object and its evolution over time.

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