Wednesday, August 24, 2022

The Crab pulsar in pills

The Crab Pulsar is a neutron star located inside the Crab Nebula, the rest of the supernova exploded in 1054.

The pulsar has a diameter of about 30 km and completes a rotation on itself in just 33 milliseconds (therefore equivalent to 30 rotations per second).

Its stellar wind, accelerated to relativistic speeds, interacts with the gas of the nebula and it is responsible for most of the pulsar's emissions.

In fact, between 1949 and 1967 it was discovered that the Crab Nebula area was a strong source of radio waves, x-rays and gamma rays. The object that produced all of these emissions remained unknown for another two years, until 1969, when the Crab pulsar was finally observed.

The discovery of a neutron star inside the nebula was the decisive proof that allowed to establish that these strange objects are the product of the explosion of a supernova.

Credit: NASA/HST/ASU/J. Hester/CXC.

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