May 18, 2024

Over a Million Miles per Hour: NASA’s Chandra Catches Pulsar in X-Ray Speed Trap

A pulsar is racing through the particles of an exploded star at a speed of over a million miles per hour.
To measure this, researchers compared NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory pictures of G292.0 +1.8 taken in 2006 and 2016.
Pulsars can form when massive stars run out of fuel, collapse, and take off– leaving a quickly spinning thick things.
This outcome may help describe how some pulsars are sped up to such extremely high speeds.

The G292.0 +1.8 supernova remnant includes a pulsar moving at over a million miles per hour, as seen in the Chandra image along with an optical image from the Digitized Sky Survey. In some cases these explosions produce a “kick,” which sent this pulsar racing through the remains of the supernova explosion. Extra images reveal a close-up look at this pulsar in X-rays from Chandra, which observed it both in 2006 and 2016 to measure this remarkable speed.

The results are also discussed in a paper that has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal. The other authors of the paper are Daniel Patnaude and Terrance Gaetz, both from the Center for Astrophysics.
Reference: “The Proper Motion of the Pulsar J1124-5916 in the Galactic Supernova Remnant G292.0 +1.8” by Xi Long, Daniel J. Patnaude, Paul P. Plucinsky and Terrance J. Gaetz, Accepted, The Astrophysical Journal.arXiv:2205.07951.
NASAs Marshall Space Flight Center handles the Chandra program. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatorys Chandra X-ray Center controls science operations from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and flight operations from Burlington, Massachusetts.

In some cases these explosions produce a “kick,” which sent this pulsar racing through the remains of the supernova surge. In some cases these explosions produce a “kick,” which is what sent this pulsar racing through the remains of the supernova surge. The freshly identified speed of the pulsar suggests that G292.0 +1.8 and its pulsar might be considerably younger than astronomers previously thought. Agreement of the extrapolated position with the center of the explosion provides an age of about 2,000 years for the pulsar and G292 +1.8. The center of mass (cross) of X-ray-detected components in the debris (Si, S, Ar, Ca) is on the opposite side of the center of the explosion from the moving pulsar.

A set of extra images show the modification in position of the pulsar over the 10-year period. The scientists were able to measure this by combining Chandras high-resolution images with a cautious technique of inspecting the coordinates of the pulsar and other X-ray sources by using precise positions from the Gaia satellite.
The team determined the pulsar is moving at least 1.4 million miles per hour from the center of the supernova residue to the lower. This speed is about 30% higher than a previous price quote of the pulsars speed that was based on an indirect method, by measuring how far the pulsar is from the center of the explosion.
The newly determined speed of the pulsar indicates that G292.0 +1.8 and its pulsar might be significantly more youthful than astronomers formerly believed. The scientists estimate that G292.0 +1.8 would have taken off about 2,000 years earlier as seen from Earth, instead of 3,000 years back as previously determined. This new quote of the age of G292.0 +1.8 is based upon theorizing the position of the pulsar backwards in time so that it coincides with the center of the explosion.
Numerous civilizations around the world were recording supernova surges at that time, opening the possibility that G292.0 +1.8 was straight observed. However, G292.0 +1.8 is listed below the horizon for the majority of northern hemisphere civilizations that may have observed it, and there are no documented examples of a supernova being observed in the southern hemisphere in the instructions of G292.0 +1.8.
A close-up view of the center of the Chandra picture of G292 +1.8. The direction of motion of the pulsar is revealed (arrow), and the position of the center of the explosion (green oval) based upon the movement of particles seen in optical information. The position of the pulsar is extrapolated back 3,000 years and the triangle portrays the unpredictability in the angle of the extrapolation. Contract of the theorized position with the center of the surge gives an age of about 2,000 years for the pulsar and G292 +1.8. The center of mass (cross) of X-ray-detected aspects in the debris (Si, S, Ar, Ca) is on the opposite side of the center of the explosion from the moving pulsar. This asymmetry in the particles to the upper right of the explosion resulted in the pulsar being kicked to the lower left, by conservation of momentum. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/ L. Xi et al.; Optical: Palomar DSS2
In addition to discovering more about the age of G292.0 +1.8, the research group also took a look at how the supernova offered the pulsar its effective kick. There are two main possibilities, both including material not being ejected by the supernova equally in all directions. One possibility is that neutrinos produced in the explosion are ejected from the explosion asymmetrically, and the other is that the particles from the explosion is ejected asymmetrically. Since of the principle of physics called the conservation of momentum, if the product has a preferred direction the pulsar will be kicked in the opposite instructions.
The amount of asymmetry of neutrinos needed to describe the high speed in this latest result would be severe, supporting the explanation that asymmetry in the surge debris provided the pulsar its kick.
The energy imparted to the pulsar from this explosion was massive. Only about 10 miles across, the pulsars mass is 500,000 times that of the Earth and it is traveling 20 times faster than Earths speed orbiting the Sun.

The G292.0 +1.8 supernova remnant contains a pulsar moving at over a million miles per hour. This image features data from NASAs Chandra X-ray Observatory (red, orange, yellow, and blue), which was utilized to make this discovery. The X-rays were combined with an optical image from the Digitized Sky Survey, a ground-based study of the entire sky.
Pulsars are quickly spinning neutron stars that can form when massive stars run out of fuel, collapse and explode. Often these surges produce a “kick,” which is what sent this pulsar racing through the remains of the supernova surge. An inset reveals a close-up appearance at this pulsar in X-rays from Chandra.