Albert Einstein Institute | Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics | 2020 Oct 22
After more than two decades, an international research team led by the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute, AEI) in Hannover has identified a galactic “mystery source” of gamma rays: a heavy neutron star with a very low mass companion orbiting it. Using novel data analysis methods running on about 10,000 graphics cards in the distributed computing project Einstein@Home, the team identified the neutron star by its regularly pulsating gamma rays in a deep search of data from NASA’s Fermi satellite. Surprisingly, the neutron star is completely invisible in radio waves. The binary system was characterized with an observing campaign across the electromagnetic spectrum and breaks several records
“The binary star system and the neutron star at its heart, now known as PSR J1653-0158, set new records,” explains Lars Nieder, PhD student at the AEI Hannover and first author of the study published today in Astrophysical Journal Letters. “We have discovered the galactic dance of a super heavyweight with a flyweight: At slightly more than twice the mass of our Sun, the neutron star is extraordinarily heavy. Its companion has about six times the density of lead, but only about 1% the mass of our Sun. This ‘odd couple’ orbits every 75 minutes, more quickly than all known comparable binaries.” The neutron star also spins around its own axis at more than 30,000 rpm, making it one of the fastest rotating. At the same time, its magnetic field -- usually extremely strong in neutron stars -- is exceptionally weak. ...
A Cosmic Dance from Einstein@Home
AAS NOVA News | 2020 Oct 23
Discovery of a Gamma-Ray Black Widow Pulsar by GPU-Accelerated Einstein@Home ~ Lars Nieder et al