It is traveling at a speed of 2.5 million miles per hour, or nearly four million kilometers an hour, or if you prefer, 700 miles per second (1,127 km/sec).
PSR J0002+6216 is traveling at 1,1,127 kilometers per second, meaning that if it traveled from Earth to the moon, it could reach its destination in less than 6 minutes. The star was seen as it zoomed away from an expanding cloud of a recent supernova explosion. As it passes through the galaxy, it leaves behind a massive cosmic trail after punching through the explosion’s outer shell of debris.
Astronomers have revealed that the tail extends around 13 light-years and is seen pointing back to the supernova center.
PSR J0002+6216 is a type of neutron star called a pulsar. A pulsar is a highly magnetized rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation. These types of stars have a mind-bending fast spin rate, which causes them to emit jets of electromagnetic radiation as they spin. This pulsar spins 8.7 times a second. As the star spins on its axis traveling through space, if the jets of electromagnetic radiation line up with Earth, we see them as a kind of cosmic lighthouse.
A cannonball pulsar
“Thanks to its narrow dart-like tail and a fortuitous viewing angle, we can trace this pulsar straight back to its birthplace,” explained Frank Schinzel, a scientist at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). “Further study of this object will help us better understand how these explosions can ‘kick’ neutron stars to such high speed,” Schinzel added.
PSR J0002+6216 is located some 6,500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cassiopeia. According to astronomers, the pulsar is around light-years from the center of a supernova remnant called CTB 1. PSR J0002+6216 was found to be traveling through the galaxy five times faster than the average speed of a pulsar.
In fact, Astronomers say that PSR J0002+6216 is faster than 99 percent of Pulsars with measured speeds. This makes it a unique object worthy of the most rigorous scientific study.
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