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Beyond Earthly Skies

Possible Exotic Object around a Pulsar

4 May 2014, 22:00 UTC
Possible Exotic Object around a Pulsar
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Pulsars are highly magnetised, spinning compact stars that emit intense bipolar beams of electromagnetic radiation. A pulse is observed when such a beam happens to sweep pass the Earth, hence the term ‘pulsars’. These objects are the superdense and compact remnant cores of massive stars that have gone supernova. A typical compact star packs as much mass as the Sun within an object just several kilometres in size.Figure 1: Schematic view of a pulsar. The sphere in the middle represents the compact star; the curves indicate the magnetic field lines and the protruding bipolar cones represent the beam emission zones. Credit: Roy Smits.A paper by M. Bailes et al. (2011) reported on the detection of a Jupiter-mass object in a very close-in orbit around the pulsar PSR J1719-1438. This Jupiter-mass object is so close to the pulsar that its density has to be greater than 23 grams per cubic centimetre for it to not get torn apart by the pulsar’s titanic gravity. Such a high density is not typical for Jupiter-mass objects. In comparison, Jupiter has a mean density of only 1.3 grams per cubic centimetre. It is theorised that the Jupiter-mass object around PSR J1719-1438 is the dense remnant ...

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