NASA's Chandra spots fast-moving pulsar firing record-breaking jet
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has spotted a fast-moving pulsar escaping from a supernova remnant while spewing out a record-breaking jet of high-energy particles.
The pulsar, a type of neutron star, is known as IGR J11014-6103. IGR J11014-6103's peculiar behavior can likely be traced back to its birth in the collapse and subsequent explosion of a massive star.
Originally discovered with the European Space Agency satellite INTEGRAL, the pulsar is located about 60 light-years away from the center of the supernova remnant SNR MSH 11-61A in the constellation of Carina.
Its implied speed is between 2.5 million and 5 million mph, making it one of the fastest pulsars ever observed.
"We've never seen an object that moves this fast and also produces a jet," Lucia Pavan of the University of Geneva in Switzerland and lead author of a paper, said.
"By comparison, this jet is almost 10 times longer than the distance between the sun and our nearest star," she said.
The X-ray jet in IGR J11014-6103 is the longest known in the Milky Way galaxy. In addition to its impressive span, it has a distinct corkscrew pattern that suggests the pulsar is wobbling like a spinning top.
The findings are published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.
(Posted on 19-02-2014)