NOV 13, 2015 2:50 PM PST

NASA Observes Gamma Ray Pulsar From Another Galaxy for the First Time

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

The word pulsar is short for pulsating radio star, and it’s a phenomenon that occurs in space when a neutron star shows off its magnetized qualities by emitting radioactive gamma light rays. The neutron star is spinning very quickly, and as a result, those magnetic poles, which are emitting the gamma rays, are rotating with it. This is what creates the ‘pulsing’ effect as observed from Earth, and hence the name.
 
Scientists have now, for the first time, observed a gamma ray-emitting pulsar from another galaxy besides our own with its Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope.

Typically, we observe pulsars in our own galaxy, where they are most common; but one pulsar called PSR J0540-6919 has been observed inside of the Tarantula Nebula, which is located inside of a smaller galaxy outside of our own Milky Way galaxy. NASA notes that the pulsar is approximately 163,000 light years away from Earth.
 


The gamma rays being observed from PSR J0540-6919 are intensely bright; about 20 times brighter than the pulsar known to exist in the Crab Nebula. Interestingly, the amount of radio, X-Ray, and optical emission. It’s a relatively young pulsar, which scientists are aging at about 1,700 years old. This is very young in contrast to most pulsars, which are typically anywhere from 10,000 years old up to the millions of years old range.
 
"The gamma-ray pulses from J0540 have 20 times the intensity of the previous record-holder, the pulsar in the famous Crab Nebula, yet they have roughly similar levels of radio, optical and X-ray emission," said coauthor Lucas Guillemot, at the Laboratory for Physics and Chemistry of Environment and Space, operated by CNRS and the University of Orléans in France. "Accounting for these differences will guide us to a better understanding of the extreme physics at work in young pulsars."
 
Because PSR J0540-6919 is brighter than the pulsar from the Crab Nebula, which once held the record as the brightest known gamma ray-emitting pulsar around, PSR J0540-6919 is now being crowned the brightest gamma ray-emitting pulsar ever discovered.
 
NASA notes in a statement that the data observed from PSR J0540-6919 has been slowly accumulated over six years of research, and that the long stretch of time was necessary to ensure all calculations were correct and to get a clearer image of of the pulsar as the space telescope was able to capture more and more data.
 

 
With the data accumulated, scientists are hoping to learn more about how Pulsars work, and perhaps discover some more of them in further away galaxies as space telescopes continue to evolve in power and capability.

Source: NASA

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUL 20, 2021
Space & Astronomy
The Moon Landing, 52 Years Later
JUL 20, 2021
The Moon Landing, 52 Years Later
On July 16, 1969 the Apollo 11 spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral (Cape Kennedy) Florida. Four days later, astr ...
AUG 16, 2021
Space & Astronomy
'Mega-Comet' on Track to Visit Solar System in 2031
AUG 16, 2021
'Mega-Comet' on Track to Visit Solar System in 2031
Astronomers at the University of Pennsylvania have found an object that's on a trajectory that will take it past Saturni ...
AUG 30, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Is it Safe to Travel to Mars?
AUG 30, 2021
Is it Safe to Travel to Mars?
It should be safe for humans to travel to Mars, provided journeys don’t take more than four years. The correspondi ...
SEP 14, 2021
Space & Astronomy
NASA is Planning to Shoot a Spacecraft Into an Asteroid
SEP 14, 2021
NASA is Planning to Shoot a Spacecraft Into an Asteroid
NASA can detect asteroids, so there's been plenty of speculation about what might happen if we discover an asteroid ...
SEP 22, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
XENON1T Physicists May Have Directly Detected Dark Energy
SEP 22, 2021
XENON1T Physicists May Have Directly Detected Dark Energy
In what could be a revolutionary discovery, a team of physicists from the XENON Collaboration may have detected dark ene ...
NOV 19, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Space Taco: Nasa grows Hatch Green Chiles in space
NOV 19, 2021
Space Taco: Nasa grows Hatch Green Chiles in space
Now, incredibly, the famous pepper has been grown aboard the International Space Station!!!
Loading Comments...