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This dead star is in the process of skinning its companion and shooting it endlessly

This dead star is in the process of skinning its companion and shooting it endlessly

Astronomers have discovered an amazing phenomenon. For decades, the pulsar has been stripping material from its companion star and shooting the stolen material out into the universe like a “cannonball”.

Pulsars are the remnants of dead stars that emit electromagnetic pulses at regular intervals.

Pulsar PSR J1023+0038 lies approximately 4,500 light-years away, in the constellation Sextant. the futuristic Some of its unusual properties have attracted the attention of astronomers. That is, it emits pulses of different brightness, as if toggling between two “operational modes”.

the Astronomy and astrophysics According to a new study published in the journal. The team detected this activity in millisecond radio waves using 12 different telescopes and instruments.

Maria, lead author of the study, said: “We witnessed extraordinary cosmic events when a small, dense object rotating at an incredibly high speed fired an enormous amount of material, similar to cosmic cannonballs, into space over very short periods of several tens of seconds.” Christina Baglio, a researcher at New York University.

The unusual pulsar appears to alternate between active and less active modes. It emits bright X-rays along with ultraviolet and visible light, then fades dramatically and emits radio waves. Both modes can last up to minutes, while switching from one mode to the other only takes a few seconds.

And in June 2021 alone, over the course of two nights, the researchers saw the body shift between these 280 times. According to the team, the expulsion of accumulated material could explain this mysterious behaviour.

“We discovered that the change of position results from the complex interaction of the pulsar wind, i.e. the flow of high-energy particles moving away from the pulsar, and the material flowing towards the pulsar,” explained Francesco Cotti-Zelati, a researcher at the University of Barcelona. Space Research Institute, in this ad.

However, many questions remain. For example, we still don’t know if PSR J1023+0038 is unique in the universe.

Fortunately, the European Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), currently under construction in Chile, may allow the team to learn more about this strange phenomenon.

“ELT allows us to gain fundamental insights into how the abundance, distribution, dynamics and energy of material flowing around a pulsar are affected by mode-switching behavior,” said co-author Sergio Campana, director of research at the Italian National Institute. Astrophysics, in this ad.

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