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An unusual neutron star found in the “neutron star cemetery” in the Milky Way


An international team led by a scientist from the University of Sydney has discovered an unusual radio signal emitted by a neutron star that rotates very slowly, completing one revolution every 76 seconds, RT reported.


The star is unique in that it is in a “neutron star graveyard”, where no pulsations are expected.


Neutron stars are usually the remnants of supernova explosions, and their rotation rate is fast, however, scientists recently discovered a neutron star in the “neutron star graveyard” region of the universe, rotating slowly, once every 76 seconds.


This discovery was made by the MeerTRAP team using the MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa, which was observing the Vela-X 1 region of the Milky Way, about 1,300 light-years from Earth, which it called the “cemetery of neutron stars”, because scientists did not find the Such stars are accepted in them, according to findings published in the journal Nature Astronomy.


The star was initially detected from a single pulse that occurred on September 27, 2020. A total of 14 radio pulses were subsequently identified, which were evenly distributed over a 30-minute timescale.


Neutron stars are extremely dense remnants of supernova explosions of massive stars, and scientists know about 3,000 of these in our galaxy.


The group of radio-emitting neutron stars includes objects with rotation periods ranging from milliseconds to tens of seconds. As it gets older and spins more slowly, its radio emissions are expected to stop.


However, the new discovery is unlike anything seen so far. The team believes it could belong to the theoretical class of ultra-long-rotation magnetars, stars with extremely strong magnetic fields, with a rotation period of 75.88 seconds, a characteristic age of 5.3 million years, and a narrow pulsating duty cycle.

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Lead researcher Dr Manisha Kalip, who was formerly at the University of Manchester and now at the University of Sydney, said: ‘It is surprising that we only detect radio emissions from this source in 0.5% of its rotation period, which means that fortunately the radio beam crosses with the Earth. . It is therefore possible that there are more of these very slowly rotating stars in the galaxy, which has important implications for understanding how neutron stars are born and age. And the majority of surveys of pulsars are not looking for long periods, so we have no idea how many of these stars may be present.”


The newly discovered neutron star, called PSR J0901-4046, challenges scientists’ understanding of the birth and evolution of neutron stars, and appears to contain at least seven different types of pulsations (regular, semi-periodic, single peak, double peak, and partial peak (depressions). radiation), a divided peak, and a triple peak), which may be related to an unknown physical mechanism.


“This is the beginning of a new class of neutron stars,” says Dr. Caleb. How or whether they are related to other categories has not yet been explored. There will likely be many of them there. We just need to look.”