Space is so amazingly vast that it’s just about impossible to study everything in a short period of time. That’s why we seemingly continue to land on more discoveries about the universe around us all the time.
Modern astronomy, even with high-powered technical equipment, is no different. New findings published in the Monthly Notices Letters of the Royal Astronomical Society detail the first pulsar ever discovered in the Andromeda galaxy, a galaxy that is popular for study because it’s so close to our Milky Way and has a lot of similar characteristics to our galaxy.
A pulsar is a highly-magnetized spinning neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation on either side. These are created when a star explodes into a supernova, and are essentially the remnants of a dead star. The effects of its spinning produce a pulsing effect, hence why it is given the name it has.
The discovery was made with the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton Space Telescope.
“We were expecting to detect periodic signals among the brightest X-ray objects in Andromeda, in line with what we already found during the 1960s and 1970s in our own Galaxy,” says Gian Luca Israel, an author of the paper.
“We looked through archival data of Andromeda spanning 2000–13, but it wasn’t until 2015 that we were finally able to identify this object in the galaxy’s outer spiral in just two of the 35 measurements.”
The ESA notes in a statement that the Pulsar spins every 1.2 seconds and is a part of a binary system where the secondary star rotates around it every 1.3 days.
There hasn’t been a lot of time spent observing the binary system just yet, but so far it seems like it could be an encyclopedia of new information that scientists are just waiting to observe up close to try to understand in more detail.
Source: ESA, Wikipedia