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"Cannonball" pulsar points to the supernova that formed it



Pulsars are superdense neutron stars formed by massive supernova. They can only be found when their electromagnetic rays point directly to the earth as a nuclear lighthouse. Pulses have been shown to rotate as fast as 1.6 milliseconds, or 38 500 rpm. They pick up the angular momentum of the massive stars that formed them, but are a fraction of the size. This means that the speed of rotation, in much the same way as a slider, spins faster as they pull in their arms.

J0002, which is about 6,500 light years in Cassiopeia, is not so fast. However, it spins on a healthy 8.7 times a second, each time producing a gamma ray deficiency seen from the earth. Astronomers at Einstein @ Home discovered it in 201

7 while they aimed through gamma ray data using computer bikes borrowed from volunteers. The picture above is a composite of older pictures from the DRAO observatory and new observations from the VLA. The latter shows the orange pulsar tail and the curved rim of the supernova plant.

Researchers are not sure why J0002 moves faster than 99 percent of measured pulsars. One theory is that the collapsing star that formed it had areas of dense matter that drew the newly formed neutron star as a "gravitational tug". Shortly after the supernova shell formed outside the pulsatile but interstellar gas eventually the relatively sparse debris. Meanwhile, the pulsar functioned as a cannonball, piercing the remains and dropping them about 5000 years after the explosion.

Pulsar J0002 will ultimately escape from our galaxy as well. Suffice it to say that you do not want to be in the way – such objects are very small (12 miles above average), but can weigh twice as much as our sun. And at 2.5 million MPH, it can travel from Earth to Moon in just six minutes. At some point it can be cool that it can no longer be detected – fortunately thanks to the built-in arrow we always know exactly where it goes.


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