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Scientists observe & # 39; Black Widow & # 39; Pulsar in mind-boogging resolution



The impression of an artist on a brown dwarf circling a pulsar
Illustration: Dr. med. Mark A. Garlick; Dunlap Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Toronto

Astonishing astrophysics enabled astronomers to observe them only a few tens of kilometers apart near a rotating neutron star located 6,500 light-years from Earth. It's like using a telescope in your garden to see DNA strands on the moon.

Scientists have studied the "Black Widow Pulsar" for several decades and received its name because it is believed that the pulsar is a small neutron star. is slow kills his brown dwarf companion. But it was this companion that enabled astronomers to perform the incredible measurement, as its mass increases the light of the pulsar.

The physicists at the University of Toronto made their new observations with more than nine hours of data between June 13 and 16, 2014 at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. They were looking for extremely bright pulses from the pulsar, a neutron star only a few miles wide but more massive than our sun. The peculiarity of pulsars is that they spin quickly and emit the radiation like a lighthouse. The team found what they were looking for with a catch: the brightening matched the brown dwarf's eclipses.

It appeared that the brown dwarf, which is basically a small, cool star (or very large, hot), is surrounded by gas. V3.espacenet.com/textdoc? ..3 / index.html The planet acted like a magnifying glass in front of the pulsar and allowed the researchers to detect stars about 20 kilometers apart. Unfortunately, their observations are in the form of data, not in a colored and processed image, so we can not see anything.

It is not that they can create a map of the surroundings of the pulsar, but nevertheless it is the direction in which they want to take the research, so the work published in Nature . This would require a better understanding of how the brown dwarf lenses represent the pulsar. It can also help astronomers understand the ultimate destiny of these pulsar-brown dwarf systems.

Of course there is more to do, but other scientists who are not involved in the study are excited. "Plasma-sensing could allow astronomers to look deeper into the universe than would otherwise be possible," wrote Jason Hessels, astronomer at the Netherlands Institute of Radio Astronomy, in a Nature commentary. Maybe someday the lens will also help astronomers understand the secret of fast bursts of radio.

So, thanks for your help, brown dwarf. Sorry for being destroyed.

[Nature]


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