Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



STELLAR CHEMISTRY
LOFAR Radio Telescope Discovers Record-Breaking Pulsar
by Staff Writers
Dwingeloo, Netherlands (SPX) Sep 07, 2017


The Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR), a network of thousands of linked radio antennas, primarily located in the Netherlands, has discovered two new millisecond pulsars by investigating previously unknown gamma-ray sources uncovered by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Pulsar J0952-0607, highlighted near center right, rotates 707 times a second and now ranks as second-fastest pulsar known. The location of LOFAR's first millisecond pulsar discovery, J1552+5437, which spins 412 times a second, is shown at upper left. Radio emission from both pulsars dims quickly at higher radio frequencies, making them ideally suited for LOFAR. The top of this composite image shows a portion of the gamma-ray sky as seen by Fermi. At the bottom is the LOFAR "superterp" near Exloo, the Netherlands, which houses the facility's core antenna stations. Image courtesy NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration and ASTRON. For a larger version of this image please go here.

Astronomers have discovered two rapidly rotating radio pulsars with the Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR) radio telescope in the Netherlands by investigating unknown gamma-ray sources uncovered by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. The first pulsar (PSR J1552+5437) rotates 412 times per second. The second pulsar (PSR J0952-0607) rotates 707 times per second, making it the fastest-spinning pulsar in the disk of our galaxy and the second-fastest known spinning pulsar overall.

Pulsars are neutron stars, the remnants of massive stars that exploded as a supernova, which emit radio waves from their magnetic poles that sweep past Earth as they rotate. As a result, they act like lighthouses where we see pulses of radio emission for each rotation.

Neutron stars are the size of a city packed in more mass than the Sun. That's why they are used to study the behaviour of matter under extreme densities. By studying the fastest-spinning pulsars, astronomers hope to discover more about the internal structure of neutron stars and the extremes of the universe.

Pulsars shine the brightest at low frequency radio waves and this makes LOFAR an ideal telescope for studying them. "However, finding pulsars with LOFAR is extra hard work because gas and dust between stars disrupts low frequency radio waves," says Cees Bassa from ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy. That's why astronomers usually look for pulsars at higher radio frequencies.

Bassa and his colleagues have now found a way to overcome this problem. "We have developed a new processing technique, which uses graphics cards (originally designed for gaming) in the large DRAGNET computer cluster in Groningen to process the LOFAR data." This cluster is funded through an ERC starting grant to Jason Hessels from ASTRON and the University of Amsterdam.

Ziggy Pleunis, working together with Bassa and Hessels, was the first to test this technique in a pilot survey with LOFAR in 2016. He struck gold finding PSR J1552+5437, a pulsar rotating once every 2.43 milliseconds or 412 times per second. This is the first pulsar spinning at millisecond spin periods found with LOFAR.

"As millisecond pulsars are known to emit both high-energy gamma radiation as well as radio waves, we specifically looked at gamma-ray sources of unknown origin," says Pleunis, now a PhD student at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

He was able to show that the gamma-rays from the millisecond pulsar arrive at the same rotational phases as the radio pulses, suggesting a common mechanism for producing both types of radiation.

Spurred by the success of the pilot survey, Bassa, Hessels and Pleunis continued searching for millisecond pulsars with LOFAR and quickly found an even faster-spinning pulsar. Rotating 707 times per second, the so called PSR J0952-0607 is the fastest-spinning pulsar known in the disk of our galaxy. Of the known pulsars, PSR J0952-0607 is surpassed in rotation speed only by a pulsar in a dense star cluster outside of the galactic disk, which rotates 716 times per second.

"Because PSR J0952-0607 is much closer to us than the pulsar in the star cluster, it allows us to study it in much more detail," says Bassa. Using the Isaac Newton Telescope on the island of La Palma, Spain, the astronomers identified a low-mass star orbiting the pulsar, which provided additional measurements of the distance and energetics of PSR J0952-0607. Future optical observations of the binary companion star will help to determine the mass of the rapidly spinning pulsar, allowing astronomers to discern its composition.

Both pulsars (J1552+5437 and J0952-0607) are unexpectedly bright at the low radio frequencies, and quickly become dimmer at higher radio frequencies. This means that they would probably not have been found at higher radio frequencies where most previous radio telescopes searched for pulsars. Hence, there may be an as-yet unseen population of fast-spinning millisecond pulsars in our galaxy.

"We are finding growing evidence that the fastest-spinning pulsars are the brightest at low radio frequencies, and that there may be a link with the production of high energy gamma-rays," says Hessels.

If this is indeed the case, then LOFAR is expected to find more, possibly even faster-spinning, millisecond pulsars whose rotation rate can give astronomers a better understanding of the internal structure of neutron stars.

Research Report: A Millisecond Pulsar Discovery in a Survey of Unidentified Fermi Gamma-Ray Sources with LOFAR," Z. Pleunis et al., 2017 Sept. 10, Astrophysical Journal Letters

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
'Extreme' Telescopes Find the 2nd-Fastest-Spinning Pulsar
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Sep 07, 2017
By following up on mysterious high-energy sources mapped out by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (http://www.nasa.gov/fermi), the Netherlands-based Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) radio telescope has identified a pulsar spinning at more than 42,000 revolutions per minute, making it the second-fastest known. A pulsar is the core of a massive star that exploded as a supernova. In this stel ... read more

Related Links
Netherlands Institute For Radio Astronomy
Stellar Chemistry, The Universe And All Within It


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Crewed Missions Beyond LEO

Three astronauts blast off for five-month ISS mission

NASA Offers Space Station as Catalyst for Discovery in Washington

Voyager Spacecraft: 40 Years of Solar System Discoveries

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Rocket fever launches UB students to engineering competition in New Mexico

ArianeGroup to supply from Boeing satellite with new generation of electric propulsion

45th Space Wing carries out successful launch while Irma looms off coast

ISRO Develops Ship-Based Antenna System to Track Satellite Launches

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
45 Kilometers on the Odometry for Opportunity

Discovery of boron on Mars adds to evidence for habitability

New tools for exploring the surface of Mars

NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover Climbing Toward Ridge Top

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
China, Russia to Have Smooth Space Cooperation, Says Expert

Kuaizhou-11 to send six satellites into space

Russia, China May Sign 5-Year Agreement on Joint Space Exploration

ESA and Chinese astronauts train together

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
India, Japan Set to Boost Space Cooperation

ASTROSCALE Raises a Total of $25 Million in Series C Led by Private Companies

LISA Pathfinder: bake, rattle and roll

Bids for government funding prove strong interest in LaunchUK

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Two new satellites now operational to expand US space situational awareness

New microscopy method for quick and reliable 3-D imaging of curvilinear nanostructures

Chinese video site offers virtual escape from 'boring' reality

Molecules move faster near sticky surfaces

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
X-Rays Reveal Temperament of Possible Planet-Hosting Stars

Does the Organic Material of Comets Predate our Solar System?

X-rays Reveal Temperament of Possible Planet-hosting Stars

Could TRAPPIST-1's Seven Earth-size Planets Have Gas Giant Siblings

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Jupiter's Auroras Present a Powerful Mystery

Pluto features given first official names

New Horizons Files Flight Plan for 2019 Flyby

Hibernation Over, New Horizons Continues Kuiper Belt Cruise




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement