Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:23 PM
n2doc (42,707 posts)
New Movie of a Neutron Star Looks Eerily Like the Phantom of the Opera
This incredible new movie of the Vela pulsar has the unnerving appearance of the Phantom of the Opera – wearing not only a mask, but also a steam-blowing hat like the Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz.” What you are seeing here are observations from the Chandra X-ray Observatory, showing a fast moving jet of particles produced by a rapidly rotating neutron star. Scientists say these observations may provide new insight into the nature of some of the densest matter in the universe.
The Vela pulsar is about 1,000 light-years from Earth, about 19 km (12 miles) in diameter, and makes a complete rotation in 89 milliseconds. As the pulsar whips around, it spews out a jet of charged particles that race along the pulsar’s rotation axis at about 70 percent of the speed of light. The Chandra data used in the movie were obtained from June to September 2010, and it may suggest the pulsar may be slowly wobbling, or precessing, as it spins. The period of the precession, which is analogous to the slow wobble of a spinning top, is estimated to be about 120 days.
more with video http://www.universetoday.com/99319/new-movie-of-a-neutron-star-looks-eerily-like-the-phantom-of-the-opera/
5 replies, 1580 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
New Movie of a Neutron Star Looks Eerily Like the Phantom of the Opera (Original post)
|phantom power||Jan 2013||#2|
|Warren DeMontague||Jan 2013||#4|
Response to phantom power (Reply #2)
Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:51 PM
localroger (945 posts)
5. Vela could pretty much be the model for Dragon's Egg
The "mask" is formed by two beams of X-rays illuminating the disc of gas around the star, aligned with the star's magnetic poles which aren't quite pointed in exactly opposite directions. The jets of matter are being ejected along the axis of spin, which is definitely precessing. The Earth's axis also precesses, taking about 24,000 years to complete a rotation; the ancient Greeks who first detected this called it the "great year." Robert Forward would probably be amused that Vela's great year is on approximately the same scale as our regular year. In fact, Vela rotates about twice as fast as the fictional Dragon's Egg, so Egg's precession rate would probably be a bit longer, even closer to our own regular year.