NOV 13, 2015 02:50 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
DEC 14, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 14, 2019
Here's What the Earth Would Be Like if it Spun Sideways
Planet Earth – the place we all call our home – rotates on its axis with a 23.5-degree tilt. Planetary scientists think that an early solar sys...
DEC 14, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 14, 2019
Here's What We Know About the Big Bang and the Universe's Expansion
One of the most widely accepted notions regarding the formation of the universe is the Big Bang theory. In a nutshell, it’s a concept in which all of...
DEC 14, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 14, 2019
Here's Why NASA Wants to Learn More About Metallic Asteroids
NASA’s Psyche mission will investigate the properties of a unique metallic asteroid residing between Mars and Jupiter as it orbits the Sun. It’...
DEC 14, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 14, 2019
Everything You Need to Know About NASA's Artemis Mission
NASA’s upcoming Artemis mission will bring the Moon back into focus as we attempt to learn more about what it takes to become a multi-planetary speci...
DEC 14, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 14, 2019
Mercury to be Visible as it Transits the Sun on Monday
Earthlings are in for some celestial eye candy on Monday, November 11th. Mercury, the smallest of the solar system’s eight planets, is expected to be...
DEC 14, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 14, 2019
The Air Force's X-37B Plane Spent 780 Days in Space, But Why?
The United States Air Force regularly conducts top-secret missions and science experiments on behalf of the federal government. One of the military branch&...
Loading Comments...