The pulses of the universe
Happy Monday, everyone!
Pulsars were originally believed to be "Little Green Men" and labeled as LGMs until these mysterious pulses reoccured in the sky detected by radio telescopes. Still mysterious, we now know these objects are pulsars. Pulsars are rapidly spinning neutron stars that emit strong magnetic fields and radio bursts, sometimes even X-rays, that can be "heard" with radio telescopes. So here are some cool facts about them!
Can we see them? No. They are roughly 20 km in diameter (about 12.4 miles across!). So these little guys are very powerful to have a very strong magnetic field due to their rapid spinning.
How much mass? In fact, they weigh about 1.4 times that of our Sun!! Think about this- a teaspoon of a pulsar would weigh as much as a billion tons!
How fast do they spin? Recently, astronomers have been able to figure out pulsations actually vary depending on their environment (whether they come from a recent supernova explosion or a very dusty neighborhood). Some pulsars can pulse at 100 times per second! Anything faster at around 1000 times per second is considered to be a millisecond pulsar! Here is a link to some pulsar sounds!: http://www.jb.man.ac.uk/pulsar/Education/Sounds
Are they actually stars? Technically no. They are round, but they are instead the dead relics of massive stars that have released their fuel and left a tiny, but very dense corpse. But only from stars that are 8 times or more massive than our Sun.
What are some of the mysteries for astronomers today? There are several answers to that. 1) Some pulsars are found to have a glitch, where the pulse is not consistent and instead hiccups. This is probably due to an onrush of dust from a neighboring supernova, but not sure. 2) We are not sure why the magnetic field is stronger at the poles and not in its entirety. Also why magnetic fields are stronger than others. 3) Do they migrate through space? That's something to look into, too.
That's all, folks! Thanks for reading and catch you next week on some cool news about the recent Juno mission!