Pulsar Outside the Milky Way Galaxy is the Most Energetic Recorded to Date
NASA has spotted one of the most energetic pulsars ever to be seen outside our Milky Way galaxy. Using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, researchers have spotted the most luminous gamma-ray pulsar known.
The pulsar itself lies on the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud, which is a small galaxy that orbits our Milky Way Galaxy. The nebula located about 163,000 light-years away and is the largest and most complex star-formation region in our galactic neighborhood.
"It's now clear that a single pulsar, PSR J0540-6919, is responsible for roughly half of the gamma-ray brightness we originally thought came from the nebula," said Pierrick Martin, one of the researchers, in a news release. "That is a genuine surprise."
When a massive star explodes as a supernova, the star's core may survive as a neutron star, where the mass of half a million Earths is crushed into a magnetized ball that's no larger than a city on Earth. A young neutron star can spin tens of times each second, and power beams of radio waves, visible light, X-rays, and gamma rays.
"The gamma-ray pulses from J0540 have 20 times the intensity of the previous record-holder, the pulsar in the famous Crab Nebula, yet they have roughly similar levels of radio, optical and X-ray emission," said Lucas Guillemot, one of the researchers, in a news release. "Accounting for these differences will guide us to a better understanding of the extreme physics at work in young pulsars."
The findings reveal a bit more about pulsars in general, and show researchers a bit more about a pulsar outside our own galaxy.
The findings are published in the journal Science.
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