APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21)

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APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21)

Post by APOD Robot » Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:13 am

Image The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula

Explanation: The Lighthouse nebula was formed by the wind of a pulsar, a rapidly rotating, magnetized neutron star, as it speeds through the interstellar medium at over 1,000 kilometers per second. Some 23,000 light-years distant toward the southern constellation Carina, pulsar and wind nebula (cataloged as IGR J1104-6103) are indicated at the lower right in this remarkable image from the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Energetic particles generated by the pulsar are swept back into the wind's comet-like tail trailing up and to the left, along the direction of the pulsar's motion away from its parent supernova remnant. Both runaway pulsar and expanding remnant debris field are the aftermath of the core-collapse-explosion of a massive star, with the pulsar kicked out by the supernova explosion. Adding to the scene of exotic cosmic extremes is a long, spiraling jet extending for almost 37 light-years, but nearly at a right angle to the pulsar's motion. The high-energy particle jet is the longest known for any object in our Milky Way galaxy.

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Re: APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21

Post by neufer » Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:58 am

It must be around 100 ly from the SN remnant traveling at 1/300 c
so the supernova took place ~30,000 years ago.

(Too bad they misspelled through in the abstract.)
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Re: APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21

Post by Ann » Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:58 am

Margarita, "your" pulsar made an APOD! Congratulations!

I like the caption of this APOD. In particular, I like seeing the supernova remnant and the pulsar speeding away from it, leaving a comet-like tail behind it in the direction of its motion. I really appreciated seeing that tail, because we have often been told that a pulsar can be kicked out of the supernova remnant that is left behind, and it's really interesting to see a picture of just such a runaway pulsar leaving a trail behind to show where it came from, and why the supernova remnant is now empty!

But that long, twisting jet that is at almost right angles to the motion of the pulsar is not explained here. Perhaps the jet is there because the pulsar is really blasting particles from one of its poles - from one of its poles, mind you?

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Re: APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21

Post by Beyond » Fri Feb 21, 2014 7:13 am

neufer wrote:It must be around 100 ly from the SN remnant traveling at 1/300 c
so the supernova took place ~30,000 years ago.

(Too bad they misspelled through in the abstract.)
Well that's strange. In the link to the abstract you provided, "through" is spelled right.
I also thought it a little funny that this--> 8 pages, 6 figures, 1 table. Discussion (sec.3) expanded and typos fixed; results unchanged. Published on A&A <--is there, under 'comment:'.
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Re: APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21

Post by owlice » Fri Feb 21, 2014 7:20 am

neufer wrote:(Too bad they misspelled through in the abstract.)
Wow. A typo. In a pre-print. Tough audience.

The abstract to the published article is here.
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Re: APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21

Post by SouthEastAsia » Fri Feb 21, 2014 7:27 am

I was going to ask others here what their calculation would be of the actual age of this nebula explosion, based on the math given in the summary... but thanks to neufer, I think I don't have to ask! =) Thanks for that calculation.

And p.s., interesting comment by Ann too. Thanks.

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Re: APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21

Post by MargaritaMc » Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:38 am

Ann wrote:Margarita, "your" pulsar made an APOD! Congratulations!

Ann
Not exactly "mine"! :wink: But I'm glad it's made an Apod as it fascinates me.

I know that Ann gives the link to the Breaking Science News topic in her post, but here it is again, in more obvious form!
http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=32967

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Re: APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21

Post by Boomer12k » Fri Feb 21, 2014 10:57 am

The "Pulsar Wind Nebula"...looks like a Rocket Engine Blast....wonder if there is any real effect there... probably really too massive.

Interesting pic. In the Optical range, you don't even see it....

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Re: APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21

Post by Nitpicker » Fri Feb 21, 2014 11:12 am

neufer wrote:It must be around 100 ly from the SN remnant traveling at 1/300 c
so the supernova took place ~30,000 years ago.
Neufer, how did you estimate the distance of 100 ly? Are the pulsar's proper and radial components known? (And am I using the jargon correctly?)

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Re: APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21

Post by Guest » Fri Feb 21, 2014 12:35 pm

I pity the poor soul who has the 'Pixels in Space' photo, it's been an upcoming title for what seems like billions and billions of times. So, post it already!!!

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Re: APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21

Post by neufer » Fri Feb 21, 2014 1:35 pm

Nitpicker wrote:
neufer wrote:
It must be around 100 ly from the SN remnant traveling at 1/300 c
so the supernova took place ~30,000 years ago.
Neufer, how did you estimate the distance of 100 ly?
Are the pulsar's proper and radial components known? (And am I using the jargon correctly?)
It's a guesstimate based on the APOD statement that:
the long, spiraling jet extend for almost 37 light-years.
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Re: APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21

Post by starsurfer » Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:38 pm

In the optical, there is lots of hydrogen-alpha nebulosity in the region.

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Re: APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21

Post by Psnarf » Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:41 pm

Is there any other way to explain those radio pulses than a spinning neutron star? I would have thought that the jet streaming off to the right would indicate the axis of rotation. Since the jet traces a spiral pattern, perhaps that was the early axis of rotation that deteriorated into what we now detect? Kind of a spinning top that starts wobbling as the rate of spin slows down. We know that a finely focused laser beam expands to a radius in the kilometer range after a quarter million mile trip to the moon (from the lunar distance experiments reflecting from the special mirrors left during the Apollo days). That suggests maybe after traveling a distance of 23,000 ly, the radio beam could be quite wide, unlike the focused light from a lighthouse. Speculation, of course. We have no cues to form a 3D image of this 2D stream of x-ray photons.

http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2014/igrj11014/
Today's APOD is only the x-ray emmission by Chandra. I'm amazed that radio photons appear from only the center and part of the tail of the pulsar, and that there is no evidence whatsoever that any of this is going on in the visible range. If it wasn't for the Chandra detector, we probably wouldn't find this, except for the relatively tiny region of the radio pulsar. The mind boggles!
The more we know the more there is to know - kind of job security for astronomers.
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Re: APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21

Post by tomatoherd » Fri Feb 21, 2014 3:59 pm

I'm aware they know oodles more than me, but it's funny: by appearances a priori I would have guessed that what they label as the wind tail I would have thought the jet, and what they call the jet I would have guessed to be the tail, with both remnant and pulsar moving radially from a common ground zero off screen to the upper right....

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Re: APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21

Post by workgazer » Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:08 pm

Great picture, i was wondering would it be possible for one or more planets to be orbiting that pulsa? if so could we detect them via dimming / wobble techniques (sorry dont know the technical term :oops: )

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Re: APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21

Post by Hoarse Feathers » Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:20 pm

Psnarf wrote: Obquote:
"Ad hoc, ad hoc,
and quid pro quo.
So little time,
and so much to know." --J. Hillary Boob, Phud.
Actually, it's "Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo.
So little time — so much to know!"-- Jeremy Hillary Boob Ph.D.

And don't forget "If I spoke prose you'd all find out
I don't know what I talk about."-- Jeremy Hillary Boob Ph.D.
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Re: APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21

Post by dumbbunny » Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:00 pm

Thanks to Psnarf and tomatoherd for trying to answer the question "why 90 degrees between the jet and and the tail?"
Great picture.
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Re: APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21

Post by neufer » Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:01 pm

Psnarf wrote:
Is there any other way to explain those radio pulses than a spinning neutron star? I would have thought that the jet streaming off to the right would indicate the axis of rotation. Since the jet traces a spiral pattern, perhaps that was the early axis of rotation that deteriorated into what we now detect? Kind of a spinning top that starts wobbling as the rate of spin slows down.
Or, perhaps, the polar plasma jet ran into something. :arrow:
http://www.aps.org/units/dfd/pressroom/gallery/2012/lueptow12.cfm wrote:
When a perfectly straight stream of honey hits the surface of the water in a crystal goblet, it begins to spiral. This phenomenon is similar to the coiling effect, called "liquid rope coiling," that occurs when a stream of thick, high-viscosity fluid like honey or syrup traversing through air hits a flat surface like a piece of toast or the bottom of an empty teacup. But in the example depicted :arrow: , this coiling instability is triggered by a liquid: the stream of honey impinges on the surface of the water instead of at the bottom of the goblet. As a result, the coiling stream of honey is stretched and deformed as it traverses through the water in the goblet.
Psnarf wrote:
Today's APOD is only the x-ray emmission by Chandra. I'm amazed that radio photons appear from only the center and part of the tail of the pulsar, and that there is no evidence whatsoever that any of this is going on in the visible range... The mind boggles!
Boggle, n. [Scot. and North Eng. bogle, bogill, bugill, specter, hobgoblin. Cf. Bug.]
. A goblin; a specter; a frightful phantom; a bogy; a bugbear.

Boggle, v. i. , 1. To stop or hesitate as if suddenly impeded by unforeseen difficulties.

2. To do anything awkwardly or unskillfully.

3. To play fast and loose; to dissemble.
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Re: APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21

Post by Ann » Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:06 pm

workgazer wrote:Great picture, i was wondering would it be possible for one or more planets to be orbiting that pulsa?
Well, why not? We know that at least two pulsars do have planets, and there may be many more.

Admittedly I don't know if this pulsar is likely to have planets. We must consider how the planets were formed, if they exist.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulsar_pla ... ar_planets wrote:
There are three types of pulsar planets known so far. The PSR B1257+12 planets were formed out of the debris of a destroyed companion star that used to orbit the pulsar. In PSR J1719-1438, the planet most likely is the companion, or what's left of it after being almost entirely blasted away by the extreme irradiation from the nearby pulsar. PSR B1620-26 b is most likely a captured planet.
if so could we detect them via dimming / wobble techniques
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulsar_pla ... ar_planets wrote:
Pulsar planets are discovered through pulsar timing measurements, to detect anomalies in the pulsation period. Any bodies orbiting the pulsar will cause regular changes in its pulsation. Since pulsars normally rotate at near-constant speed, any changes can easily be detected with the help of precise timing measurements.
As to whether we can detect anomalies in the pulsation period of the Lighthouse Nebula pulsar, I don't know.

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Re: APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21

Post by MargaritaMc » Fri Feb 21, 2014 10:49 pm

Re: Pulsar planets.

By coincidence, I've just read this at
Sky and Telescope, posted January 9, 2013
Only three pulsar planetary systems have been found so far, and every one has broken a record. The first confirmed exoplanets were found orbiting pulsar PSR B1257+12 in Virgo. The first circumbinary planet was found circling a pulsar and a white dwarf. And last year, in the strangest case of all, pulsar PSR J1719-1438 was found hosting a “diamond” planet, which turned out to be a white dwarf star stripped of its outer layers until it weighed as little as Jupiter.
It's an interesting article.
M
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Re: APOD: The Long Jet of the Lighthouse Nebula (2014 Feb 21

Post by Ron-Astro Pharmacist » Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:30 pm

I don't know why but this looks like a balloon zipping around the galaxy losing its air. If so - it would make quite the "cosmic" sound as it deflates.
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
Wonder if we will be able to follow it over time?
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