LOFAR Discovery of a 23.5 s Radio Pulsar
Authors: Chia Min Tan, Cees Bassa, Sally Cooper, Tammo Dijkema, Paolo Esposito, Jason Hessels, Vlad Kondratiev, Michael Kramer, Daniele Michilli, Sotirios Sanidas, Tim Shimwell, Ben Stappers, Joeri van Leeuwen, Ismael Cognard, Jean-Mathias Griessmeier, Aris Karastergiou, Evan Keane, Charlotte Sobey, Patrick Weltevrede
Journal: Astrophysical Journal
Publication Date: 11 October, 2018
Department of: Physics and Astronomy
The slowest spinning radio pulsar known.
Pulsars are rapidly rotating neutron stars that emit beams of electromagnetic radiation from their magnetic poles. They are born when a massive star explodes in a supernova that leaves behind a dense core, of mainly neutrons, with a diameter of around 20 kilometres.
Researchers at the University of Manchester and the Netherlands discovered a radio pulsar which rotates just once every 23.5s. This was a surprise as it spins almost 3 times slower than the previous slowest. This constrains the theory of how these objects produce radio emission as it was expected to be radio quiet. Finding these slow-spinning pulsars is very challenging so this discovery suggests that there may be many more, affecting our understanding of how many pulsars there are in the galaxy.
Some models suggest that this pulsar evolved from a Magnetar, a pulsar with a magnetic field strength 100-1000 times larger than pulsars. If that is the case, heating of the pulsar surface by the decay of the magnetic field should be visible in X-rays. So far we have not been able to detect this, but using more sensitive observations will reveal if this is a feasible model for the formation of this theory challenging source.
- The slowest spinning radio pulsar ever found provides information on the formation, evolution and emission properties of these extremely dense objects