The 2nd-fastest pulsar, now with gamma rays | 9/22/2019 | Deborah Byrd
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Artist’s concept of a pulsar. In this illustration, the pulsar swings its radio (green) and gamma-ray (magenta) beams past Earth with every spin, so that we see it as pulsing. Image via NASA.

Supernova explosions can crush ordinary stars into neutron stars, composed of exotic, extremely dense matter. Neutron stars are on the order of about 12 miles (20 km) across in contrast to hundreds of thousands of miles across for stars like our sun. Yet they contain mass on the order of 1.4 times that of our sun. Neutron stars have strong magnetic fields. They emit powerful blasts of radiation along their magnetic field lines. If, as a neutron star spins, its beams of radiation periodically point towards Earth, we see the star as a pulsing radio or gamma-ray source. Then the neutron star is also called a pulsar, often compared to a cosmic lighthouse. Modern astronomers know of pulsars spinning with mind-boggling rapidity. The 2nd-fastest one – called PSR J0952-0607 – spins some 707 times a second! Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hanover, Germany announced on September 19, 2019 that this pulsar, J0952-0607 – formerly seen only at the radio end of the spectrum – now has been found to pulse also in gamma rays.

J0952-0607 - Number - Object - Position - Sky

J0952-0607 – the number relates to the object’s position in the sky – was first discovered in 2017. It was originally seen to pulse in radio waves, but not gamma rays. The international team that studied it in detail – and recently published new work about it in the peer-reviewed Astrophysical Journal – said in a statement:

The pulsar rotates 707 times in a single second and is therefore the fastest spinning in our galaxy outside the dense stellar environments of globular clusters.

Artist - Concept - Remnant - Neutron

Artist’s concept of a supernova remnant with a neutron...
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