May 30, 2022

Bizarre neutron star spins every 76 seconds inside a stellar graveyard

Posted by in category: cosmology

Neutron stars are normally extremely fast-spinning stellar corpses left over from the intense violence of a supernova, but researchers have found one in a “stellar graveyard” where one should not be – and it spins at a relatively glacial rate of once every 76 seconds.

Researchers with the University of Sydney found the bizarre radio signal, designated PSR J0901-4046, emitted by the neutron star thanks to the MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa and weren’t even expecting to see it. The region of the sky they were observing was thought to be free of pulsars, since none had been observed there before.

Now they might know why. Capturing eight-second-long samples of the sky, they caught sight of a single pulse from the star, which had to be confirmed with subsequent observation due to its unexpectedly long rotational period.

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