Celestial bauble intrigues astronomers

Dec 20, 2011
Credits: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Potsdam/L. Oskinova et al.

(PhysOrg.com) -- With the holiday season in full swing, a new image from an assembly of telescopes has revealed an unusual cosmic ornament. Data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA's XMM-Newton have been combined to discover a young pulsar in the remains of a supernova located in the Small Magellanic Cloud, or SMC. This would be the first definite time a pulsar, a spinning, ultra-dense star, has been found in a supernova remnant in the SMC, a small satellite galaxy to the Milky Way.

In this , X-rays from Chandra and XMM-Newton have been colored blue and optical data from the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile are colored red and green. The , known as SXP 1062, is the bright white source located on the right-hand side of the image in the middle of the diffuse blue emission inside a red shell. The diffuse X-rays and optical shell are both evidence for a supernova remnant surrounding the pulsar. The optical data also displays spectacular formations of gas and dust in a star-forming region on the left side of the image. A comparison of the Chandra image with shows that the pulsar has a hot, massive companion.

Astronomers are interested in SXP 1062 because the Chandra and XMM-Newton data show that it is rotating unusually slowly -- about once every 18 minutes. (In contrast, some pulsars are found to revolve multiple times per second, including most newly born pulsars.) This relatively leisurely pace of SXP 1062 makes it one of the slowest rotating X-ray pulsars in the SMC.

Two different teams of scientists have estimated that the supernova remnant around SXP 1062 is between 10,000 and 40,000 years old, as it appears in the image. This means that the pulsar is very young, from an astronomical perspective, since it was presumably formed in the same explosion that produced the supernova remnant. Therefore, assuming that it was born with rapid spin, it is a mystery why SXP 1062 has been able to slow down by so much, so quickly. Work has already begun on theoretical models to understand the evolution of this unusual object.

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Nanobanano
1 / 5 (10) Dec 20, 2011
Therefore, assuming that it was born with rapid spin, it is a mystery why SXP 1062 has been able to slow down by so much, so quickly.


There's your problem right there: You assume it was spinning rapidly to begin with.

There's no good reason ANYTHING in the universe "must" be spinning.

If the original star existed with little or no spin, then it's reasonable for the pulsar to have little or no spin.

Not everything spins just because it's big or massive or exotic.

The assumption that it was born with "massive spin" has no merit, since it could have been anything from zero spin to gravitational limits in both the positive (right hand) and negative(left hand) direction.

Once again, we find astronomers making a calculation based on a logical fallacy and/or complete misunderstanding of the underlying physics.

Nanobanano
1 / 5 (10) Dec 20, 2011
When they talk about angular momentum, they always used the example of the figure skater bringing her arms in, therefore spinning FASTER.

However, if the skater is spinning slowly initially then "faster" will still be slow.

If she is spinning fast initially, then she will spin very fast when she pulls in her arms.

So the absurd belief that the pulsar was spinning much faster in the past is clearly fallacious.

It would be nice if these bozos actually understood the implications of their own theories from time to time.
Husky
5 / 5 (4) Dec 20, 2011
are you the walter of science?
kevinrtrs
1.4 / 5 (11) Dec 20, 2011
Therefore, assuming that it was born with rapid spin, it is a mystery why SXP 1062 has been able to slow down by so much, so quickly. Work has already begun on theoretical models to understand the evolution of this unusual object.

Well now, isn't that a surprise? A slow spinning pulsar! It will be interesting [and very amusing,actually] to see the mental gymnastics that has to be performed to make the observation fit with the current theory.
How about assuming that the pulsar was created spinning so slowly in the first place? What kind of revisions to the theory would be required then?
yyz
5 / 5 (10) Dec 20, 2011
"Once again, we find astronomers making a calculation based on a logical fallacy and/or complete misunderstanding of the underlying physics."

Have you read the published work on SXP 1062? It would appear not. Habel et al found that based on it's age and other factors, SXP 1062 was "most likely born with a spin period much longer than a few tens of ms as generally adopted for an NS at birth": http://arxiv.org/...91v1.pdf

Young pulsars that rotate slower than SXP 1062 are known(one is even in the SMC), its just the majority of known young pulsars have much shorter periods.

Work by Popov et al suggest that the pulsar may have a strong magnetic field (stronger in the past) and that this may be a factor in the unusually slow rotation, perhaps through magnetic torque or inhibition of accretion from the Be companion: http://arxiv.org/...07v1.pdf

Why not read the published literature before coming to rash conclusions QC/Nano?
bewertow
4.4 / 5 (8) Dec 20, 2011
Therefore, assuming that it was born with rapid spin, it is a mystery why SXP 1062 has been able to slow down by so much, so quickly.


There's your problem right there: You assume it was spinning rapidly to begin with.

There's no good reason ANYTHING in the universe "must" be spinning.

If the original star existed with little or no spin, then it's reasonable for the pulsar to have little or no spin.

Not everything spins just because it's big or massive or exotic.

The assumption that it was born with "massive spin" has no merit, since it could have been anything from zero spin to gravitational limits in both the positive (right hand) and negative(left hand) direction.

Once again, we find astronomers making a calculation based on a logical fallacy and/or complete misunderstanding of the underlying physics.



Do you have a physics degree? I doubt it, so STFU. Astronomers clearly know what they're doing.
Nanobanano
1 / 5 (9) Dec 20, 2011
The article specifically states they ASSUMED it was "born" with a rapid spin, which is clearly a logical fallacy.

GuruShabu
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 20, 2011
It is well known that the last moments of a supernova when the outer layers either collapse or are expelled is an asymmetric explosion. Therefore, it is likely that the asymmetric explosion has been the cause of low angular momentum.
Occam's razor works well here!
thermodynamics
5 / 5 (7) Dec 20, 2011
Did anyone other than yyz bother to read the excellent paper that they provided? If you had read the paper you would see that they can measure the present "spin-down" rate and show that other stars can spin-down and spin-up over short terms. They then go through and estimate the maximum spin at birth. It is actually a well done and informative paper if you read it and understand the science.
that_guy
5 / 5 (5) Dec 20, 2011
If the original star existed with little or no spin, then it's reasonable for the pulsar to have little or no spin.

Not everything spins just because it's big or massive or exotic.


I think the main flaw with your argument is that you automatically assume you know(or remember) everything.

For example, there are good reasons why so many things spin. As matter contracts, if anything is out of balance, it will naturally begin to spin as it contracts due to that imbalance. If there is *any* spin, it will speed up as it contracts.

Also, There are in fact neutron stars and black holes that are known to have very little spin.

I think the burden of proof is on you to disprove the link between a an emitting neutron star - also known as a pulsar - and it's spin. Because there is a very logical connected between the two, just as there is a logical connection to our iron core, spin, and our magnetic field.
that_guy
5 / 5 (3) Dec 20, 2011
Basically, if it didn't spin fast enough at some point, then it simply wouldn't be a pulsar. It would just be a regular neutron star.
ArthurX
not rated yet Dec 21, 2011
I have a small question: is the red, yellow halo around the quasar,
due to the x-radiation reflecting in the cloud or is
it just radiation due to the temperature of the cloud,
Thanks Arthur
yyz
5 / 5 (3) Dec 21, 2011
"is the red, yellow halo around the quasar, due to the x-radiation reflecting in the cloud or is it just radiation due to the temperature of the cloud"

The emission nebula surrounding the pulsar(a quasar is a different beast entirely) is seen to glow due to two different mechanisms. Shocked emission results when debris from the supernova collides violently with the surrounding interstellar medium and is heated to high temperatures. Photoionization of the shell from the bright Be star also acts to illuminate the nebula. Both mechanisms contribute to the strong H-alpha and OIII emission seen in the shell.

The interior of the shell is also seen to radiate diffusely in x-ray and radio wavelengths (see Fig 1 of the Haberl paper: http://arxiv.org/...91v1.pdf )

Additional images and discussion of the shell are included in the discovery paper: http://arxiv.org/...04v1.pdf
ArthurX
5 / 5 (1) Dec 21, 2011
xyz thanks,
will read the pdfs tomorrow.

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