Unusual neutron star discovered in the “star graveyard”

(ORDO NEWS) — An international team led by a scientist at the University of Sydney has discovered an unusual neutron star emitting radio signals that rotates extremely slowly, making one revolution every 76 seconds.

The uniqueness of the star lies in the fact that it is located in the “graveyard of neutron stars”, where pulsations are not expected. The discovery was made by the MeerTRAP team using the MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa.

Initially, the star was detected by one impulse. We then managed to confirm the presence of several impulses, using simultaneous consecutive eight-second sky shots to confirm its position.

Neutron stars are extremely dense supernova remnants formed from the explosions of massive stars. Scientists know about 3,000 such stars in our galaxy.

However, the new discovery is unlike anything else seen before. The team believes it may belong to a theoretical class of ultra-long-lived magnetars – stars with extremely strong magnetic fields.

Study leader Dr Manisha Kaleb said: “Surprisingly, we detect radio emission from this source only during 0.5 percent of its rotation period. This speaks of great luck that the radio beam crossed with the Earth.

“Therefore, it is likely that there are many more of these very slowly rotating stars in the galaxy, and this is of great importance for understanding how neutron stars are born and age. Most studies of pulsars do not look for periods of this duration, so we have no idea how many such stars might exist.”

The newly discovered neutron star has been named PSR J0901-4046 and appears to have at least seven different types of pulsars, some of which are highly periodic. It shows the characteristics of pulsars, super-long period magnetars, and even fast radio bursts – short bursts of radio emission in random places in the sky.

“This is the beginning of a new class of neutron stars. How and if it relates to other classes remains to be explored. Most likely there are many more. We just have to look,” concluded Dr. Caleb.


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