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Scientistsd Witness A Cosmic Recycling First: Study

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Bianca
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« on: May 22, 2009, 12:59:34 pm »








This artist's concept obtained from NASA, depicts a type of dead star called a pulsar and the surrounding disk of rubble discovered by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

Scientists have witnessed a first in something like star recycling: a slow-spinning pulsar star fading fast and being transformed into a superfast millisecond pulsar with a super-long life.



(AFP/
NASA/
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« Last Edit: May 22, 2009, 01:04:08 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2009, 01:03:36 pm »









                                  Scientists witness a cosmic recycling first: study




   

Thu May 21, 2009
WASHINGTON
(AFP)

Scientists have witnessed a first in something like star recycling: a slow-spinning pulsar star fading fast and being transformed into a superfast millisecond pulsar with a super-long life.

A team of Canadian, British, Dutch, Australian and US scientists used the Robert C. Byrd radio telescope at Green Bank, West Virginia, to observe nearly a third of the celestial stunner.

Their results were published online by Science on Thursday.

"This survey has found many new pulsars, but this one is truly special -- it is a very freshly 'recycled' pulsar that is emerging straight from the recycling plant," said astrophysics doctoral candidate Anne Archibald.

Pulsars are fast-spinning, highly magnetized neutron stars -- remnants left after massive stars explode as supernovae. But millisecond pulsars rotate hundreds of times in a second.

"Imagine a ping-pong ball in the bathtub, and then you take the plug out of the drain," said Archibald.

"All the water swirling around the ping-pong ball suddenly makes it spin a lot faster than when it was just bobbing on the surface."

"We know normal pulsars typically pulsate in the radio spectrum for one million to ten million years, but eventually they slow down enough to die out," explained professor Victoria Kaspi of Canada's McGill Pulsar Group.

"But a few of these old pulsars get 'recycled' into millisecond pulsars. They end up spinning extremely fast, and then they can pulsate forever," Kaspi said, wondering: "How does nature manage to be so green?"

"For the first time, we have caught a glimpse at an actual cosmic recycling factory in action," said Ingrid Stairs of University of British Columbia, who has been visiting the Australia Telescope National Facility and Swinburne University of Technology.

"This system gives us an unparalleled cosmic laboratory for studying how millisecond pulsars evolve and get reborn," she said.
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