(ORDO NEWS) — The dead star, hurtling through space at breakneck speed, left behind a trail of particles of matter and antimatter .
The star is a pulsar called PSR J2030+4415 or J2030 for short; its diameter is about 20 kilometers, and it rushes through space at a breakneck speed of about 450 kilometers per second.
This set of features resulted in a huge comet-like tail of the star’s particles that stretched 7 light-years across interstellar space.
These particles are matter (electrons) and antimatter (positrons), which can be seen in a new image taken by the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
Pulsars are a type of neutron star, the collapsed cores of stars whose main sequence mass is about 8 to 30 times that of the Sun.
These stars are superdense, with powerful magnetic fields. The pulsar adds a high rotational speed to the mixture; J2030 makes about 3 revolutions around its axis per second.
Pulsars emit winds of charged particles that are usually held together by their magnetic field.
As J2030 hurtles through space, its wind follows it.
“The magnetic field of the pulsar wind coupled with the interstellar magnetic field, and high-energy electrons and positrons shot out through the nozzle formed by the junction.”
Particles leaking out of the pulsar wind appear to have been accelerated along this interstellar magnetic field line to speeds roughly one-third the speed of light. This causes the beam to glow brightly in the X-ray range, as you can see above.
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