JUN 19, 2017 07:52 AM PDT

This Pulsar is Feeding a Slow-Moving Bow-Shock Pulsar Wind Nebula

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Astronomers regularly study pulsars because there is a lot about them we have yet to understand. On the other hand, one pulsar in particular is taking things to a whole new level.

Around 16,600 light years away from Earth is a 39,000-year-old pulsar dubbed PSR J1015-5719, which has a spin rate of approximately 0.14 seconds. While we’ve been studying it since 2003, it wasn’t until recently that space observation equipment picked up something extraordinary.

Pulsar PSR J1015−5719 seems to be exhbiting a pulsar wind nebula (PWN).

Image Credit: Ng et al., 2017

A paper published on arXiv.org that has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal by University of Hong Kong researchers describes what appears to be a synchrotron nebula associated with PSR J1015-5719; dubbed G283.1-0.59, it is also being classified as a bow shock pulsar wind nebula (PWN), given the circumstances.

Most of the time, synchrotron nebulae are difficult to see with optical or X-ray domains because they are electron-hungry and consume available energy very quickly, limiting emission. On the other hand, when a high-energy pulsar is in the neighborhood, it produces enough electrons to feed the electron-hungry structure, and this changes the circumstances a little bit.

Related: This might be the first pulsar ever discovered in the Andromeda galaxy

While G283.1-0.59 wasn’t spotted with X-ray or infrared space observation equipment initially, it was spotted after a new radio observation conducted with the Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST).

The new research details a bubble-like object and exhibits both a head and a tail. PSR J1015−5719 appears to reside in the head of the structure, exhibiting a fan-shaped diffuse emission.

It exhibits a magnetic field that seems to switch directions quasi-periodically and notably has a low-Mach number; in other words, it’s moving very slowly. Although most observed bow shocks have higher-Mach numbers than G283.1-0.59, many of its characteristics are consistent with your typical bow shock, hence why it has been classified as one.

Related: This could be the slowest-moving pulsar ever discovered

As we touched on earlier, pulsars are actually feed the energy-hungry PWN, so it suddenly makes sense that we’re observing a pulsar in the same neighborhood as G283.1-0.59. Their close proximity to one another supports the hypothesis that the electrons being emitted by PSR J1015-5719 are working as a cosmic power outlet for the pulsar wind nebula.

Taking more time to study G283.1-0.59 just might yield some more fascinating results about how it came to exist and its unique properties that set it apart from the rest of the PWN out there.

Source: Phys.org

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 09, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 09, 2019
This ISS-Based Experiment Could Benefit Parkinson's Disease Patients
Astronauts on the International Space Station do a whole lot more than spacewalk and glance out the window at the beautiful planet Earth. They also conduct...
DEC 09, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 09, 2019
Just How Reusable is SpaceX's Falcon 9 Rocket?
  SpaceX originally designed its acclaimed Falcon 9 rocket to be a reusable rocket platform. With literally dozens of Falcon 9 rocket launches and lan...
DEC 09, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 09, 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 09, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 09, 2019
NASA Assembles Final Sections of SLS Rocket Stage
NASA’s upcoming Space Launch System (SLS) rocket has seen delays time and time again due to several miscellaneous financial and manufacturing quandar...
DEC 09, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 09, 2019
NASA's Dawn Mission Taught Us Much About the Asteroid Vesta
In 2011, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft arrived at its destination, enabling planetary scientists with the American space agency to study a particularly capt...
DEC 09, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 09, 2019
Woman-Only Spacewalk Will Transpire October 21st, NASA Says
NASA was expected to orchestrate the world’s first all-female spacewalk at the International Space Station earlier this year, but was unfortunately u...
Loading Comments...