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!
Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons
27.06.2017 | ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences
Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold
26.06.2017 | Toyohashi University of Technology
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
27.06.2017 | Information Technology
27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy