Astronomers discover 13 new pulsars in the Omega Centauri cluster

(ORDO NEWS) — Using the MeerKAT radio telescope, astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Germany have discovered 13 new pulsars in the globular cluster Omega Centauri.

Pulsars are highly magnetized spinning neutron stars that emit a beam of electromagnetic radiation. They are usually detected as short bursts of radio emission, but some of them are also observed with optical, X-ray and gamma-ray telescopes.

A team of astronomers have announced the discovery of new pulsars in Omega Centauri (also known as NGC 5139), the largest globular cluster in our galaxy, located about 17,000 light-years from Earth. Only five pulsars have previously been identified in this cluster.

New pulsars (designated PSR J1326-4728F to PSR J1326-4728R) have been discovered in the core and between the core and half the light radius of Omega Centauri.

All new objects can be classified as millisecond pulsars (MSPs) because they have rotation periods of less than 30 milliseconds (2.27 to 18.95 ms). Seven of them turned out to be binary systems, and six were isolated pulsars.

The pulsars reported in the study have dispersion indices in the range of 94.27 pc/cm3. The orbital periods of the seven binary systems range from approximately 0.094 to 1.18 days.

The astronomers added that six of the binary systems have very light companions, and two of them have visible eclipses.

The discovery of astronomers increases the number of pulsars in Omega Centauri to 18, 10 of them are isolated. All of the binary pulsars in this cluster, with the exception of PSR J1326-4728Q, have very low-mass companions (less than 0.1 solar masses), which is typical of black widow systems.

The authors of the paper hope to find more pulsars on Omega Centauri as part of the ongoing Transient and Pulsars with MeerKAT (TRAPUM) study.

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