NASA’s moon caught the pulsar in an X-ray speed trap

NASA’s moon caught the pulsar in an X-ray speed trap

The supernova remnant G292.0 + 1.8 has a pulsar moving at a speed of 1 million miles per hour, as seen in the image of the moon with the optical image of the digital sky survey. Pulsars rapidly orbit neutrons, which can be formed when large stars run out of fuel, collapse, and explode. These explosions sometimes create a “kick”, which sends this pulsar racing through the remnants of a supernova explosion. Additional images show a close-up of this pulsar in lunar x-rays, which he discovered in 2006 and 2016 to measure this impressive speed. The red cross on each panel represents the location of the Pulsar in 2006. Credit: X-ray: NASA / CXC / SAO / L.Shi et al .; Optics: Palomer DSS2

  • A[{” attribute=””>pulsar is racing through the debris of an exploded star at a speed of over a million miles per hour.
  • To measure this, researchers compared

The supernova remnant G292.0 + 1.8 has a pulsar that travels at a speed of one million miles per hour. This image contains data from NASA’s Lunar X-ray Observatory (red, orange, yellow and blue), which was used to make this discovery. X-rays are combined with optical images from the Digitized Sky Survey, All-Sky Ground Survey.

Pulsar fast neutron stars revolve when huge stars run out of fuel, collapse, and explode. These explosions sometimes produce “kicks,” which cause these pulsars to run through the remnants of a supernova explosion. Inset shows a closer look at this pulsar in the moon’s x-rays.

To make this discovery, the researchers compared the lunar images of G292.0 + 1.8 taken in 2006 and 2016. The pair of complementary images shows the change in the position of the pulsar in 10 years. The change in source location is negligible because the pulsar is about 20,000 light-years from Earth, but during that time it has traveled about 190 billion kilometers. Researchers were able to calculate this by combining high-resolution images of the moon with accurate technology, using the exact locations of Gaia satellites to verify the pulsar index and other X-ray sources.

Pulsar Positions, 2006 and 2016

Pulsar Sites, 2006 and 2016. Credit: X-ray: NASA / CXC / SAO / L. Shi etc.

The team calculated that the pulsar was traveling at least 1.4 million miles per hour from the center of the supernova to the lower left. This velocity is about 30% higher than the previous estimate of the velocity of the pulsar, which was based on an indirect method of measuring the distance of the pulsar from the center of the explosion.

The newly determined speed of the pulsar suggests that the G292.0 + 1.8 and the pulsar may be much smaller than previously thought by astronomers. Researchers estimate that the eruption of G292.0 + 1.8 may have occurred 2,000 years ago, as seen on Earth 3,000 years ago. This new age estimate of G292.0 + 1.8 is based on extrapolating the position of the pulsar over time to match the center of the explosion.

Many civilizations around the world were reporting supernova explosions at the time, opening up the possibility of direct observation of 292.0 + 1.8. However, G292.0 + 1.8 is below the horizon for most of the Northern Hemisphere civilization you have seen, and there are no recorded instances of supernovae appearing in the Southern Hemisphere in the direction of G292.0 + 1.8.

G292 + 1.8 close up

Close-up view of the Lunar Imagery Center for G292 + 1.8. The direction of motion of the pulsar (arrow) and the position of the center of the explosion (green ellipse) are indicated on the basis of the breaking movements seen in the optical data. The position of the pulsar was extrapolated 3,000 years ago and the triangle represents the uncertainty of the induction angle. The uniformity of the induction site with the epicenter of the explosion gives approximately 2,000 years of age for the Pulsar and G292 + 1.8. The center of mass (intersection) of the X-ray elements found in the heap (Si, S, Ar, Ca) is located in front of the center of the pulsar exploding in motion. The asymmetry of the pile in the upper-right corner of the blast kicked the pulsar into the lower-left corner and saved speed. Credit: X-ray: NASA / CXC / SAO / L. Shi et al .; Optics: Palomer DSS2

In addition to learning more about the age of the G292.0 + 1.8, the study team also studied how the Pulsar Supernova took its powerful kick. There are two main possibilities, both involving materials that will not be ejected uniformly by supernovae in all directions. One possibility is that the output neutrinos from the explosion are expelled unevenly from the explosion, another possibility is that the debris created by the explosion is expelled asymmetrically. If the substance is preferred, the pulsar will be pushed in the opposite direction by a physical principle called momentum conservation.

The degree of neutrino asymmetry required for the high velocity in this final result would be extreme, supporting the implication that the pulsar was triggered by the asymmetry of the blast pile.

The energy transferred from this explosion to the pulsar was enormous. Although the diameter of the pulsar is only 16 kilometers, the mass of the pulsar is 500,000 times that of the earth and it travels 20 times faster than the speed of the earth revolving around the sun.

Xi Long and Paul Plucinksky (Astrophysics Center | Harvard & Smithsonian) ‘s latest work on G292.0 + 1.8 was presented at the 240th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Pasadena, California. The results are also discussed in a paper accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal. Other authors of the paper, Daniel Patnod and Terrence Getz, are both from the Center for Astrophysics.

References: Approved by Xi Long, Daniel J. Patnaude, Paul P. Plucinsky and Terrance J. Gaetz, “Proper Speed ​​of Pulsar J1124-5916 in Galactic Supernova Remains G292.0 + 1.8”, Astrophysical Journal.
arXiv: 2205.07951

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center manages the lunar program. The Lunar X-ray Center of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls science operations in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and flight operations from Burlington, Massachusetts.

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