For the first time in history, astronomers have directly measured the speed of a pulsar’s own motion

(ORDO NEWS) — Astronomers for the first time managed to measure the speed of its own movement of the pulsar. We are talking about the object J1124-5916, which is located in a young supernova remnant.

Scientists have recorded that the speed of the proper movement of the pulsar J1124-5916 was 612 km / s.

This explains well the model of hydrodynamic impact, since the neutron star is accelerated due to the asymmetry in the ejection of the star’s matter during the explosion.

A team of astronomers led by Xi Lun of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reported the first direct measurement of the proper velocity of the pulsar J1124-5916 in the young supernova remnant G292.0+1.8.

The scientists used X-ray observations of the pulsar from the Chandra Space Telescope and astrometric data from the Gaia Data Release 3 catalog of the Gaia Space Telescope.

G292.0+1.8 lies 20,000 light-years from the Sun and is an X-ray bright, oxygen-rich type IIL/IIb supernova remnant. Inside it is a pulsar that creates a pulsar wind nebula.

It is assumed that the mass of the progenitor star was 13–30 solar masses, and the light from the explosion reached the Earth about 3 thousand years ago.

The measured displacement of the position of the pulsar in the supernova remnant for the period from 2006 to 2016 was 0.0021 arc seconds, which corresponds to a transverse velocity (the component of the object’s velocity perpendicular to the line of sight) of 612 kilometers per second.

This value is about 30 percent larger than the value determined by comparing the position of the pulsar with the position of the remnant’s optical center of expansion, and reveals an age of the nebula that is closer to 2,000 years, different from the previous estimate of 2,900 years.

The scientists concluded that the acceleration of a neutron star is best explained in terms of a hydrodynamic impact model.

Something about the formation of neutron stars

Neutron stars are formed from the gravitational collapse of the cores of massive stars when they explode as supernovae.

At the same time, observations of such objects make it possible to detect high speeds of movement of 300-400 kilometers per second in some neutron stars and pulsars.

It is believed that there are two possible mechanisms that can accelerate neutron stars to such speeds at birth.

– The first mechanism is an anisotropic neutrino ejection, which is born during the explosion of a star. At the same time, an anisotropy of one percent is enough to give the neutron star an additional speed of several hundred kilometers per second.

– The second mechanism involves the acceleration of a neutron star by volumetric hydrodynamic impact. In this case, during the explosion, an asymmetric ejection of the star’s matter occurs, characterized by a dominant direction, while the pulsar will be thrown in the opposite direction through the law of conservation of momentum.


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