GSFC: Fermi Clocks 'Cannonball' Pulsar Speeding Through Space

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GSFC: Fermi Clocks 'Cannonball' Pulsar Speeding Through Space

Post by bystander » Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:48 pm

Fermi Clocks ‘Cannonball’ Pulsar Speeding Through Space
NASA | Goddard Space Flight Center | Fermi | 2019 Mar 19
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Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
Music: "Forensic Scientist" from Killer Tracks
Astronomers found a pulsar hurtling through space at nearly 2.5 million miles an hour — so fast it could travel the distance between Earth and the Moon in just 6 minutes. The discovery was made using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA).

Pulsars are superdense, rapidly spinning neutron stars left behind when a massive star explodes. This one, dubbed PSR J0002+6216 (J0002 for short), sports a radio-emitting tail pointing directly toward the expanding debris of a recent supernova explosion.

“Thanks to its narrow dart-like tail and a fortuitous viewing angle, we can trace this pulsar straight back to its birthplace,” said Frank Schinzel, a scientist at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Socorro, New Mexico. “Further study of this object will help us better understand how these explosions are able to ‘kick’ neutron stars to such high speed.” ...

Astronomers Find 'Cannonball Pulsar' Speeding Through Space
National Radio Astronomy Observatory | 2019 Mar 19
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