A speck of sunshine that scientists once wrote off as a remote galaxy may be the brightest neutron star ever detected outside the Milky Way System.
Named PSR J0523−7125 and placed concerning a hundred and sixty,000 light-years from Earth within the massive Magellanic Cloud (a satellite galaxy that orbits the opaque Way), the newly-defined neutron star is double as wide as the other neutron star within the region, and ten times brighter than any celebrated neutron star on the far side our galaxy. Therefore, the article is huge and bright that researchers originally took it as a faraway galaxy — but a new analysis revealed could two within the uranology Journal Letters suggests that this can be not the case.
Using the Australian sq. metric linear unit Array expert (ASKAP) astronomical telescope in the Australian state, the study authors checked out the area through a special combination of “sunglasses” that block all wavelengths of sunshine apart from a selected style of emission related to pulsars, the extremely attractable husks of stars. Once PSR J0523−7125 showed up bright and clear within the results, the team realized they weren’t observing a galaxy; however, at the pulsing remains of a dead star.
“This was a tremendous surprise,” lead study author Yuanming Wang, associate stargazer at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial analysis Organization (CSIRO), aforementioned. “I did not expect to search out a brand new neutron star, including the brightest. however, with the new telescopes we tend to currently have access to, like ASKAP and its glasses, it very is feasible.”
Pulsars area unit extremely attractable, quickly spinning remnants of exploded stars. As they rotate, radio waves erupt from their poles, pulsing like pharos beams as those radio waves flash toward Earth.
The radio waves emitted by pulsars area unit different from several different cosmic lightweight sources; in this, they will be circularly polarized — that’s, the light’s field of force will rotate during a circle because it propagates forward. This distinctive polarization will give scientists an enormous hint of the difficult game of identifying pulsars from different distant lightweight sources. In their new study, researchers used a worm to separate circularly polarized lightweight sources from an associate ASKAP survey of neutron star candidates.
The team found that the likely galaxy PSR J0523−7125 was emitting circularly polarized lightweight, which means it’s nearly definitely a neutron star. And since pulsars’ area unit is unbelievably tiny — usually packing a sun’s value of mass into a ball no wider than a town — the article should be abundant nearer and far brighter than scientists antecedently thought. Indeed, if this neutron star lurks within the close massive Magellanic Cloud because the researchers suspect, then it’s the only brightest neutron star ever found outside the Milky Way System.
That exceptional brightness explains why the article was misidentified as a galaxy once its initial detection, the researchers aforementioned. And by filtering out circularly polarized lightweight from future star surveys, researchers can also unmask even bizarre pulsars that area unit concealment in plain sight.
“We ought to expect to search out a lot of pulsars victimization this method,” study author Tara white potato, a radio stargazer at the University of state capital in Australia, aforementioned within the statement. “This is the initial time we’ve been able to look for a pulsar’s polarization during a systematic and routine manner.”
Originally revealed on Live Science.