April signal from Sagittarius the Archer reveals pulsar (Photo courtesy of NASA)
Friday, December 30, 2011 – “Astronomy delights the soul because of the mystery“
Astronomers recently detected a signal emanating from the constellation Sagittarius the Archer which after study turned out to be a type of x-ray pulsar often called an accretion-powered pulsar. Accretion-powered pulsars have to this point in the human journey to the beginning of time and space always appeared as part of a binary star system with a normal type star. In this scenario the powerful gravity field of the neutron star is able to pull material from the surface of the normal star during a process referred too as accretion. Astronomers have designated this new x-ray pulsar Swift J1749.4-2807 and believe it’s the remnant of a supernova. Spinning wildly out of control, this accretion-powered pulsar is thought to be composed of dense material with properties we know nothing about.
Astronomers believe the signal emanating from the constellation Sagittarius the Archer was produced during the accretion process as the material torn from the surface of the normal star spirals around the neutron star. NASA scientists believe the material heats up to the point where it radiates x-rays during the process of spiralling into the region of the neutron star’s magnetic poles. X-ray detectors on near Earth telescopes detect these x-rays when a spinning neutron star lines up directly with the line of sight to Earth.
Check out astronomy.com or NASA for the latest in breaking news on the human journey to the beginning of space and time.
Click this link to watch a You Tube video on Sagittarius the Archer
Astronomy News – Browsing through a popular and well-read book on astronomy from the 1980s, one might get the idea astronomers have pierced the veil of secrecy surrounding stellar bodies we refer to as neutron stars. Astronomers and stargazers have boarded their time-machine-to-the-stars to journey to exotic parts of space and time to view these strange celestial bodies for decades. Astronomers have been studying the central body of the Crab Nebula for hundreds of years, watching as it emits regular apparent emissions in the direction of Earth about 30 times per second as it rotates, in what astronomers have described as a lighthouse effect.
The description of neutron stars in astronomy books from the 1980s isn’t necessarily incorrect, but research in the intervening years has led scientists to believe astronomy books need to be rewritten in parts and filled in a bit more. Astronomers now believe that neutron stars aren’t all born crab-like and that this scenario is only one of a menagerie of weird and unusual celestial objects they refer to as neutron stars. A menagerie of bizarre stellar bodies representing a significant percentage of the total population of neutron stars they have viewed during the human “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time.”
Astronomers have found weird and wonderful things that astound and amaze
The menagerie of stellar bodies astronomers are bringing into the pulsar zoo are weird characters, with names like magnetars, anomalous x-ray pulsars, rotating radio transients, compact central objects, and soft gamma repeaters, and properties, unlike the famous Crab Nebula. All of these characters constitute at least ten percent of the total population of neutron stars observed and they could represent a much higher percentage. I guess it’s time to rewrite the astronomy books!
What kind of characters will you find in the pulsar zoo? All of the characters you’ll view in the pulsar zoo have a few common and bizarre properties. They all have masses upwards of half a million Piles of earth crammed into a sphere about 12 miles in diameter. The second most compact objects astronomers have viewed during the human “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time”, at the center of a neutron star lies a reality we as humans have yet to comprehend, with densities, at least, ten times the densities scientists have recorded inside the atomic nucleus. The laws of nature in this environment are beyond anything we as humans can truly understand at present, but neutron stars also have other properties.
Astronomers continue to study neutron stars in amazement and wonder
Neutron stars also rotate at a tremendously fast rate and astronomers have brought neutron stars to the pulsar zoo that rotate 700 times per second. A rate of rotation that despite the pull of gravity on the surface of this neutron star, is likely to create a slightly pancake-shaped body, due to the extreme rate of rotation of this neutron star. The question now is just how fast can a neutron star rotate?
What are some of the less common properties of the most bizarre members of the pulsar zoo? We’ll take you through the pulsar zoo on another day and show you some of these weird and unusual celestial bodies. Until then, “Live long and prosper”.