Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers using Arecibo Telescope discover never-before-seen pulsar blasts in Crab Nebula

10.01.2007
Bizarre emission spectrum leads to speculation: Is this a third magnetic pole?

Astronomers and physicists using the Cornell-managed Arecibo Telescope in Puerto Rico have discovered radio interpulses from the Crab Nebula pulsar that feature never-before-seen radio emission spectra. This leads scientists to speculate this could be the first cosmic object with a third magnetic pole.

"We never see the strange frequency structure in the main pulse and we never see the really short blasts in the interpulse," said Tim Hankins, acting director of the Arecibo Observatory and a co-investigator on this research. "We fully expected the main pulse and interpulse to be spectrally identical, but what we found is that they are very different. This is the first time seeing this in a pulsar."

Hankins, who also is an emeritus professor of physics at New Mexico Tech in Socorro, N.M., will present a poster, "Radio Emission Signatures in the High Frequency Interpulse of the Crab Pulsar," which he made with Jean Eilek, New Mexico Tech professor of physics, on Jan. 8, 2007, at the American Astronomical Society (AAS) convention in Seattle.

"This is a cool result," said Eilek. "The fact that the 'left hand' and the 'right hand' of the pulsar – or the north and south magnetic poles – don't know what each other is doing, is very striking. It knocks just about every existing theory of pulsar radio emission for a loop."

Because pulses from north and south poles should be identical, Eilek thinks this strange radio emission might be coming from another part of the pulsar. She speculates: "Maybe we've discovered an unknown, unexpected 'third magnetic pole' somewhere else in the star."

Pulsars are important to understand as they allow physicists to confirm Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity. The magnetic and electrical fields of pulsars are far stronger than any laboratory can generate, and Hankins admits this is a difficult physics problem to understand.

In the case of the Crab Nebula pulsar, located in the constellation Taurus, some 6,300 light years from Earth, the numbers boggle the mind: Plasma clouds in the pulsar's atmosphere send out the radio emission blasts in times as short as four-tenths of a nanosecond. This plasma cloud is smaller than a soccer ball. During their short lifetimes, their blasts of radio emission can be as powerful as 10 percent of the power of our sun

"These strange emission features are not showing up in other pulsars," says Eilek. The researchers have been using Arecibo on several observation occasions, between 2004 and the present. They last conducted observations in December 2006. "Maybe the magnetic field is not as simple as we think. Right now, we're totally perplexed," she said.

Blaine Friedlander | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cornell.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Two dimensional circuit with magnetic quasi-particles
22.01.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern

nachricht Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation
19.01.2018 | Carnegie Institution for Science

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Thanks for the memory: NIST takes a deep look at memristors

22.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Radioactivity from oil and gas wastewater persists in Pennsylvania stream sediments

22.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Saarland University bioinformaticians compute gene sequences inherited from each parent

22.01.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks Wissenschaft & Forschung
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>