MAY 30, 2018 5:56 PM PDT

Peculiar Neutron Star is Both Far Away and Lacking a Companion

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

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 NASA’s Chandra X-ray telescope and the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile.

A composite image showing 1E 0102.2-7219 in all its glory.

Image Credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/ESO/F.Vogt et al); Optical (ESO/VLT/MUSE & NASA/STScI)

Residing approximately 200,000 light years away from Earth in the Small Magellanic Cloud, 1E 0102.2-7219 doesn’t have a stellar companion like many other neutron stars do and sports a lower magnetic field than astronomers expected.

A paper describing the findings can be found in the journal Nature Astronomy.

A statement released by NASA this week explains how the supernova explosion that created 1E 0102.2-7219 transpired almost two millennia ago. The composite image above depicts a colorful gas ring expansion consistent with the explosion’s blast wave.

Astronomers purportedly know of at least ten objects in the Milky Way that are like 1E 0102.2-7219 regarding its oxygen-rich composition and distinctive characteristics. Nevertheless, it’s the first stellar object of its kind to present itself outside of the Milky Way.

Related: Do neutron star collisions create the heaviest elements?

If you look closely, you’ll notice how the neutron star seems is offset from the center of the gas ring expansion. Astronomers are still trying to figure out why this is the case, but at least two potential theories come to mind.

One of the theories proposes that forces from the initial explosion sent the neutron star drifting in one direction, while another suggests that the object was always in motion and continues to move.

Neither theory comes without its complications, but astronomers are still in the middle of working out the kinks. NASA implies that additional research with the help of more observatories – perhaps like the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope – may shed light on some much-needed answers.

Related: Hubble spies on the source of neutron star-driven gravity waves

Until then, the finding will remain a fascinating enigma.

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 08, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 08, 2019
SpaceX Just Resupplied the International Space Station Again
The International Space Station is poised to receive some much-needed new supplies and science experiments today, a feat made possible by a routine resuppl
DEC 15, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 15, 2019
Boeing's Starliner Capsule 'Ready' for First Test Flight
NASA is enthusiastic about bringing crewed space launches back to American soil very soon, and with the help of its Commercial Crew program, at least two s
DEC 30, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 30, 2019
How SpaceX's Crew Dragon Will Operate, From Start to Finish
It’s no mystery by now that SpaceX is working hard to earn the right to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station via NASA’s Commerci
FEB 02, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 02, 2020
Everything You Need to Know About Solar Orbiter
The Sun is something you see every day when you look up at the daytime sky, but despite residing right in plain sight, there’s still so much about th
FEB 23, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 23, 2020
NASA Resolves a Minor Hiccup with Voyager 2 Spacecraft's Performance
After spending more than four decades in outer space, NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft officially left the heliosphere ...
FEB 25, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 25, 2020
What Would Happen if We Sent a Spacecraft Into the Sun?
In 2018, NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe to get its closest look at the Sun yet. The probe gets as close as about 6.2 million kilometers from the Sun&
Loading Comments...