NOV 13, 2015 02:50 PM PST

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

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
MAY 30, 2018
Space & Astronomy
MAY 30, 2018
Peculiar Neutron Star is Both Far Away and Lacking a Companion
1E 0102.2-7219 is the name given to a newly-discovered neutron star that astronomers discovered while observing the distant reaches of outer space with NAS...
JUN 10, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUN 10, 2018
NASA's Curiosity Rover Finds "Organic Compounds" and More on Mars
The possibility that life once existed on Mars is an idea that has captivated planetary scientists for decades. But new findings uncovered by NASA’s...
JUL 03, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUL 03, 2018
Astronomers Capture the Formation of a Young Exoplanet
The mechanisms responsible for planetary formation have captivated astronomers for as long as we can remember, but a newly-captured image of a distant star...
AUG 27, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 27, 2018
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope Celebrates 15 Years in Space
NASA engineers originally designed the Spitzer Space Telescope to observe the heavens for approximately 2.5 years. But 15 years later, the space observator...
AUG 28, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 28, 2018
Jupiter's Formation Wasn't Smooth Sailing, Study Suggests
Jupiter is the largest-known planet in the solar system, and planetary scientists have been debating about how it formed for as long as we can remember. Bu...
SEP 02, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 02, 2018
International Space Station Crew Repairs Small Air Leak
The International Space Station is an Earth-orbiting laboratory that operates in the vacuum of outer space. That said, it needs to maintain a constant air...
Loading Comments...