Feeds

Scientists spot pulsar with 4 magnetic poles

Double bubble

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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." ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.