Feeds

Scientists spot pulsar with 4 magnetic poles

Double bubble

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

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." ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.