Unknown Sources of Gamma Rays Baffle Scientists

The universe is filled with high-energy radiation, much of which is made of gamma rays belched out by strange pulsing stars and the remnants of supernova explosions. But nearly one-third of all gamma-ray emitting objects seen to date defy identification. The objects were spotted by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, which scans the entire sky over the course of three hours, mapping the powerful spectrum.

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RXCaptures Thermonuclear Behavior of Unique Neutron Star

In October 2010, a neutron star near the center of our galaxy erupted with hundreds of X-ray bursts that were powered by a barrage of thermonuclear explosions on the star’s surface. On October 10, 2010, the European Space Agency’s INTEGRAL satellite detected a transient X-ray source in the direction of Terzan 5, a globular star cluster about 25,000 light-years away toward the constellation Sagittarius. The object, dubbed IGR J17480–2446, is classed as a low-mass X-ray binary system, in which the neutron star orbits a star much like the sun and draws a stream of matter from it.

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Disappeared Pulsar PSR J1841

Pulsars are fast-spinning stars that emit regular beams of light known for their clocklike regularity.More than forty years of study, astronomers still can’t nail down what causes these rapidly rotating stars to pulse. But when one, called PSR J1841, turned off for 580 days, it gave astronomers a glimpse of how pulsars behave when they can’t be seen. In December 2008, Fernando Camilo, of Columbia University in New York, was using the Parkes telescope in Australia to search for a known object when he found a steadily flashing star in his field of view. He quickly identified it as a pulsar that was spinning once every 0.9 seconds, a fairly standard rotation.

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Pulsar’s Record Failure

The pulsar is a fast-spinning neutron star with a strong magnetic field. This combination powers a lighthouse-like beam of energy, which astronomers can easily locate if the beam happens to sweep toward Earth. Australian astronomers have found the record failed in the motion of the pulsar, that is unexplainable a sharp change of speed of rotation.

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