Feeds

Scientists spot pulsar with 4 magnetic poles

Double bubble

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The 209th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Seattle has been entertained by the news that the neutron star within the Crab Nebula may have twice the normal complement of magnetic poles, the BBC reports.

The nature of the star's radio pulse emissions leads the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico to conclude that it possibly has four magnetic poles. Depending on a pulsar's orientation to Earth, its rotation and said emissions issuing forth from the poles will allow detection of one or two pulses. Where two are detected, as is the case in the Crab Nebula, the emissions from the north and south poles should be identical.

In the case of this particular neutron star, however, scientists detected a main pulse, occasionally producing "enormously strong pulses" dubbed "megapulses", and an "interpulse" which were "dramatically different in their profiles".

Tim Hankins, acting director of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, explained: "We think we've got a much more complicated magnetic field than the simple dipole model. What we think is that there is another pole, possibly with a partner, that is influencing and distorting the magnetic field."

The four-pole theory is based on the fact that, although the team has spotted just one extra pole, it will likely have an opposite.

The Crab Nebula pulsar was created as a result of a supernova explosion on 4 July 1054 (AD). Professor Hankins pointed out that the explosion may have been "very asymmetric", adding: "Any models you see of supernova explosions are incredibly convoluted. It just doesn't go down as sphere and rebound as a nice sphere. The magnetic pole is frozen in so it gets all mixed up as well." ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Rosetta science team thinks Philae might come to life in the spring
And disclose the biggest surprise of Comet 67P
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.