Re: Yahoo! News Story - Astronomers baffled by weird, fast-spinning pulsar - Yah
- I'm trying to find right ascension and declination values for this
object that I can turn into zodiacal coordinates. When I do, I'll post
Mark A. Holmes
> > Astronomers baffled by weird, fast-spinning pulsar - Yahoo! News
> > http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080515/sc_nm/pulsar_dc_1
> Mark A. Holmes
> Begin story.--
> Astronomers baffled by weird, fast-spinning pulsar
> By Will Dunham Thu May 15, 4:59 PM ET
> WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Astronomers are baffled after finding an exotic
> type of star called a pulsar apparently locked in an elongated orbit
> around a star much like the sun -- an arrangement defying what had
> been known about such objects.
> The rapidly spinning pulsar -- an extraordinarily dense object created
> when a massive star exploded as a supernova -- is called J1903+0327
> and is located about 21,000 light years from Earth, the astronomers
> A light year is about 6 trillion miles, the distance light travels in
> a year.
> "The big question is -- how in the heck did this thing form, because
> it doesn't follow our standard models of how these things form,"
> astronomer Scott Ransom of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in
> Charlottesville, Virginia, said in a telephone interview on Thursday.
> This object is known as a millisecond pulsar because of its speedy
> whirl -- it spins on its axis 465 times per second.
> Until now, all of the ones found orbiting with another star have been
> doing so with a white dwarf, another type of dying star. In each case,
> they shared a perfectly circular orbit. But this one has a very
> elongated orbit around a star similar in size and composition to our
> "What we have found is a millisecond pulsar that is in the wrong kind
> of orbit around what appears to be the wrong kind of star," astronomer
> David Champion of the Australia Telescope National Facility said in a
> statement. "Now we have to figure out how this strange system was
> It was detected using a radio telescope in Puerto Rico.
> Pulsars are a rare type of neutron star whose strong magnetic fields
> channel lighthouse-like beams of light and radio waves that whirl
> around as the star spins.
> Typical pulsars spin once a second to about 10 or 20 times a second.
> But millisecond pulsars spin far more rapidly.
> The understanding had been that these started out as typical,
> slower-spinning pulsars, then built up speed after material expelled
> from another star reached the pulsar's surface, giving it momentum.
> "If you were to ask any astronomer if we would have found a system
> like this, they would have said no. So this is a very big surprise,"
> Ransom said.
> The scientists, writing in the journal Science, speculate a third star
> -- perhaps a neutron star or white dwarf -- might be orbiting with the
> other two. Scientists know of about 100 pulsars in two-star, or
> binary, systems, and this might be the first in a triple-star system,
> Ransom said.
> --End story.