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Mon Nov 11, 2019, 12:27 AM

NASA instrument spots its brightest X-ray burst from a peculiar pulsar


By Michael Irving
November 07, 2019

On August 20, an X-ray instrument onboard the International Space Station (ISS) captured the brightest X-ray burst it has ever seen. The explosion came from a pulsar thousands of light-years away, releasing as much energy in 20 seconds as the Sun does in 10 days. Now a NASA team has outlined what they believe caused it.

A pulsar is a type of neutron star, left behind after a more massive star sheds most of its material in a dramatic supernova. The remaining core is still active, particularly at its poles where it blasts X-rays in focused beams. Because these objects spin so fast, some of their beams happen to sweep over Earth periodically, creating regular X-ray pulses that gives pulsars their name.

In this case, the burst came from a pulsar called SAX J1808.4-3658 (or just J1808). It’s about 11,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius, and spins 401 times per second. But the signal detected was no regular pulse – it was the brightest ever spotted by NASA’s Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) telescope, and showed some other strange features.

The burst started off strong, paused for about a second, before flaring up even brighter for another two seconds until it hit its peak. After holding there for a few seconds, the flare fades. On it way back down though, it briefly brightens again by about 20 percent, before gradually fading out over the next 40 seconds or so.

More:
https://newatlas.com/space/nasa-nicer-brightest-x-ray-burst-pulsar/

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Reply NASA instrument spots its brightest X-ray burst from a peculiar pulsar (Original post)
Judi Lynn Nov 11 OP
SonofDonald Nov 11 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Nov 11, 2019, 01:09 AM

1. Not a happy story

Isn't a Pulsar the deadliest nastiest thing there is?

That's what I remember reading way back, hadn't even thought of them for a long time.

Death Star

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