A pulsar that’s eating a galaxy


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The uncertainty of science: Astronomers have discovered a pulsar emitting energy at a rate far greater than ever predicted and which is believed caused by the very fast in-fall of matter into the neutron star.

Astronomers have found a pulsating, dead star beaming with the energy of about 10 million suns. This is the brightest pulsar – a dense stellar remnant left over from a supernova explosion – ever recorded. The discovery was made with NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR. “You might think of this pulsar as the ‘Mighty Mouse’ of stellar remnants,” said Fiona Harrison, the NuSTAR principal investigator at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. “It has all the power of a black hole, but with much less mass.”

More here. The galaxy where this pulsar resides, M82, has been known for decades to be one of the most interesting, with evidence of vast explosions tearing it apart. This pulsar is at its center, and appears to be sucking in matter at a rate previously believed impossible, suggesting that the supermassive black holes found at the center of many galaxies could form much faster that any theory predicted.

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