An artist's illustration of a pulsar in deep space. Depositphotos.

Seven New Pulsars Identified in Deep Space

Astronomers have reported discovering seven new pulsars in deep space. Pulsars are like cosmic lighthouses. The majority of these rotate once per second (this type of pulsar is sometimes referred to as a "slow pulsar"), while over 200 rotate hundreds of times each second (this type of pulsar is referred to as a "millisecond pulsar").

Seven new pulsars have been detected and their basic parameters have been determined using the Russian Large Phased Array (LPA) radio telescope.

A pulsar is essentially a rotating neutron star that emits electromagnetic radiation. Usually, they are detected as short bursts of radio emission, but some can also be observed with optical, X-ray, and gamma-ray telescopes. They are perhaps best described as cosmic lighthouses. Typical in our universe, it is formed when a massive star reaches the end of its life and collapses into a compact object.

It is only possible to see pulsars when their focused beam is aimed directly at us. As a result, we see a blinking dot of light, or rather a repeating signal. The blips in space are called pulses (hence, pulsars).

There have been more than 2,000 pulsars detected so far, according to Space.com. The majority of these rotate once per second (this type of pulsar is sometimes referred to as a “slow pulsar”), while over 200 rotate hundreds of times each second (this type of pulsar is referred to as a “millisecond pulsar”).

Observations of seven new pulsars have been reported by a group of Russian astronomers led by Sergey Tyul’bashev of PRAO. LPA made the discovery during a daily sky survey conducted in test mode for a full day, covering 50 degrees in declination and right ascension. In the new pulsars, frequencies of 111 MHz were observed.

“The pulsar search was started at the radio telescope LPA LPI at the frequency 111 MHz. The first results of a search for right ascension 0ℎ − 24ℎ and declinations +21◦ − +42◦ are presented in the paper,” the researchers wrote in the study, as per Phys.org.

During the survey, astronomers recorded 34 pulsars, and seven were newly identified. Their spin periods range from 0.82 to 2.09 seconds, while their dispersion measures are 15–90 pc/cm3. The average half-width of pulsar profiles ranges from 20 to 400 milliseconds.

To date, only five new pulsar parameters have been confirmed by follow-up observations with LPA (namely J0146+3104, J0220+3622, J0421+3240, J1242+3938, and J1721+3524). Further monitoring is necessary for two pulsars, designated J0220+3622 and J0421+3240, because they have broad average profiles.

LPA’s usefulness in discovering new pulsars is demonstrated by the researchers’ discovery. This device is characterized by its high effective area, which translates into high sensitivity, as well as the possibility of simultaneous observations in many beams and of monitoring it on a daily basis.

It is especially advantageous for detecting rare objects to search for pulsars in the LPA LPI daily monitoring data: flashing pulsars, which are characterized by a significant increase in flux density after a long period of relative rest, pulsars of the RRAT [rotating radio transient] type, pulsars of the Geminga type, pulsars with nullings, pulsars with giant pulses,” the authors noted.

It is anticipated that at least several dozen new pulsars will be discovered by further LPA observations and data processing. They hope to find more close pulsars, whose flux density can significantly change from day to day as a result of interstellar scintillation, as well as pulsars whose spectra are very steep.

A paper detailing the findings was published on the arXiv pre-print repository on August 18.


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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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