New NASA Video Shows Massive Pulsar Jet in Action

Get the WebProNews Newsletter:

[ Science]

NASA this week released footage that shows exactly what a jet of particles shooting out from around a pulsar looks like. Astronomers say the new research could provide new insight into these super-dense objects.

The video features the Vela pulsar, which is a neutron star that formed after the collapse of a massive star. The star is around 1,000 light-years from earth, is only 12 miles in diameter, and makes a rotation every 89 milliseconds. As the object spins faster than a helicopter roter, charged particles swirl around its rotation axis at around 70% the speed of light. The images seen in the video come from observations made using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

“We think the Vela pulsar is like a rotating garden sprinkler – except with the water blasting out at over half the speed of light,” said Martin Durant of the University of Toronto, the lead author of a new paper on the Vela pulsar published today in The Astrophysical Journal.

Durant and his colleagues observed that the pulsar could be precessing, or wobbling (like a top) as it spins. If confirmed, it would be the first time such a neutron star has been found. The precession, say researchers, could be related to minor distortions in the shape of the star, which might no longer be a perfect sphere due to its fast rotation and the interaction of its superfluid core with its crust.

“The deviation from a perfect sphere may only be equivalent to about one part in 100 million,” said Oleg Kargaltsev co-author of the research and an astronomer at George Washington University. “Neutron stars are so dense that even a tiny distortion like this would have a big effect.”

(Image courtesy NASA/CXC/Univ of Toronto/M.Durant et al/DSS/Davide De Martin)

New NASA Video Shows Massive Pulsar Jet in Action
Comments Off on New NASA Video Shows Massive Pulsar Jet in Action
Top Rated White Papers and Resources

Comments are closed.

  • Join for Access to Our Exclusive Web Tools
  • Sign Up For The Free Newsletter