The most energetic light ever observed from a few kilometers large star

January 12, 2016
The most energetic light ever observed from a few kilometers large star
The neutron star (red sphere) with its strong magnetic field (white lines) spins around itself nearly 30 times per second injecting energetic electrons in the space region around it. The green and blue shaded regions depict different particle acceleration zones from where the detected photons could originate. The green zone lies in the vicinity of the pulsar's magnetosphere, whereas the blue zone could be as far as 100,000 km away from the pulsar. Credit: Patricia Carcelén Marco

Scientists working with the Major Atmospheric Gamma-ray Imaging Cherenkov (MAGIC) observatory have reported the discovery of the most energetic pulsed emission radiation ever detected from the neutron star in the center of the supernova of 1054 A.D., known as the Crab pulsar.

The Crab pulsar is the corpse left over when the star that created the Crab nebula exploded as a supernova. It has a mass of 1.5 the mass of the Sun concentrated in about 10 kilometers diameter object, rotates 30 times per second, and is surrounded by a region of intense ten thousand billion times stronger than that of the Sun. This field is strong enough to dominate the motion of charges and forces them to rotate at the same rate as the stellar surface. This region is called the magnetosphere. The rotation of the magnetic field also generates intense electric fields that literally tear electrons from the surface. As these accelerated electrons stream outward, they produce beams of radiation that we receive every time the beam crosses our line of sight, like a lighthouse.

In 2011, the MAGIC and VERITAS observatories discovered unexpected very energetic photons. Emma de Oña Wilhelmi from the Institute of Space Sciences (IEEC-CSIC, Barcelona) and Principal Investigator of this observation program says: "We performed deep observation of the Crab pulsar with MAGIC to understand this phenomenon, expecting to measure the maximum energy of the pulsating photons". Roberta Zanin from (ICCUB-IEEC, Barcelona) continues: "The new observations extend this tail to much higher, above TeV energies, that is, several times more energetic than the previous measurement, violating all the theory models believed to be at work in ."

The photons arrive in two precise beams which should be created far from the neutron star surface: on the far end of the magnetosphere or outside it, in the ultra-relativistic wind of particles around the pulsar, to be able to accelerate electrons to such energies and to escape the large absorption in the magnetised atmosphere. But very surprisingly, the TeV beams arrive at the same time as the radio and X-ray beams, which are very likely produced within the magnetosphere. This tight synchronization of the beams at different energies implies that the bright radiation observed in the multi-wavelength spectrum is produced altogether in a rather small region. Alternatively one can say that the electrons responsible from the TeV radiation keep somehow memory of the low-energy beams.

Daniel Galindo Fernandez (ICCUB-IEEC, Barcelona) says: "Where and how this TeV emission is created remains still unknown and difficult to reconcile with the standard theories." and David Carreto Fidalgo from Complutense University of Madrid adds: "But how and where this effect is achieved in such a small region challenges our knowledge of physics".

MAGIC Spokeperson Razmik Mirzoyan from the Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) in Munich (Germany) says: "This is another very important result achieved by MAGIC on the puzzling celestial object, which incidentally besides the Sun is the most investigated one in all energy ranges. Hence from the beginning of operation of the MAGIC experiment in 2004, we have been intensively observing the Crab Nebula and the Crab pulsar. And that has really paid-off- in the mean time we revealed significant features of this enigmatic object thus providing substantial input to our theory colleagues- now it is their move to explain how the things are at work. MAGIC has been designed to be the most suitable instrument among imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes to perform this kind of observations."

The Crab Pulsar

The Crab pulsar, created in a supernova explosion that occurred in 1054 A.D., is located at a distance of about 6500 light years at the center of a magnetized nebula visible in the Taurus constellation. The Crab is the most powerful pulsar in our galaxy and it is one of only a few pulsars detected across all wavelengths, from radio up to gamma rays. In its rotating magnetic field , electrons and positrons are accelerated up to relativistic energies and emit radiation that arrives to our telescopes in the form of pulses every 33 millisecond, each time the neutron star rotates and meets our telescopic sight. Before the MAGIC measurement this radiation was believed to stop abruptly when the photons reach a energy few billion times larger than visible light.

MAGIC telescopes

MAGIC is a ground-based gamma-ray instrument located on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain. The system of two 17m diameter Cherenkov telescopes is currently one of the three major imaging atmospheric Cherenkov instruments in the world. It is designed to detect gamma rays tens of billions to tens of trillions times more energetic than visible light. MAGIC has been built with the joint efforts of a largely European collaboration that includes about 160 researchers from Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Finland, Bulgaria, Croatia, India and Japan.

Explore further: Powerhouse in the Crab Nebula

More information: S. Ansoldi et al. Teraelectronvolt pulsed emission from the Crab Pulsar detected by MAGIC, Astronomy & Astrophysics (2016). DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201526853

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24 comments

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Hat1208
5 / 5 (2) Jan 12, 2016
Obviously it is neutron repulsion.
Mayday
not rated yet Jan 12, 2016
From image caption: "... spins around itself."
Trying. To. Picture. That.
baudrunner
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 12, 2016
Bear in mind that in the taking of a single step for an indigenous resident on the surface of this neutron star, a million years will have passed on Earth. He will probably also have a very bad back.
EnsignFlandry
5 / 5 (2) Jan 13, 2016
Bear in mind that in the taking of a single step for an indigenous resident on the surface of this neutron star, a million years will have passed on Earth. He will probably also have a very bad back.


Just refer them to Galactic Chiropractic LLC. We accept all major credit cards.

On a more serious note, how can electrons "keep memory.. of the low-energy beams."
bschott
3.8 / 5 (10) Jan 13, 2016
On a more serious note, how can electrons "keep memory.. of the low-energy beams."


Although I disagree with many mainstream interpretations of these signals.

Here, enjoy.

http://amasci.com...ive.html

baudrunner
5 / 5 (3) Jan 15, 2016
On a more serious note, how can electrons "keep memory.. of the low-energy beams."
I swear, this guy is one of the most important contributors to the eventual solution to GUT and TOE scenarios but almost nobody read this.. http://www.eetime...=1141983
Old_C_Code
1.4 / 5 (9) Jan 17, 2016
Bear in mind that in the taking of a single step for an indigenous resident on the surface of this neutron star, a million years will have passed on Earth. He will probably also have a very bad back.
hehe...

The nonsense logic of time dilation is a testament to it's invalidity. And is spawning a very boring science fiction industry. :~)
my2cts
1.7 / 5 (6) Jan 18, 2016
@Old
Just for the record: you are wrong.
Whydening Gyre
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 18, 2016
@Old
Just for the record: you are wrong.

I dunno, My2...
From a certain perspective, maybe not... Altho, I do think he might be overly reactive in his oppositional position.
A fixed observer will observe time dilation of an observed thing, while the observed thing will not. Until that observed thing observes the original observer...:-)
Kinda relative, I suppose...
bluehigh
5 / 5 (1) Jan 18, 2016
Amusing WG. I guess it's best to cover my eyes when the warp drive kicks in. Even daylight saving upsets me so positional perspective related observation of relative time dilation ...
I won't look then it can't happen.
Whydening Gyre
3 / 5 (2) Jan 19, 2016
Amusing WG. I guess it's best to cover my eyes when the warp drive kicks in. Even daylight saving upsets me so positional perspective related observation of relative time dilation ...
I won't look then it can't happen.

Which is what Old C might be retreating to. Of course it happens, but only for the "observer".
If someone moves away from us at almost c and observes us, he'd get the same relativistic observations we do watching him. Right? Most likely wrong on this, but...
The thing I am having trouble with is, is a gravitational effect on time dilation. I get that it obviously appears to happen (ie - gps satelites) - but why?
We seem to be missing something...
Bloodyorphan
5 / 5 (1) Jan 19, 2016
Gravity causes time dilation as well WG ...

http://www.astron...gps.html

So if you are a believer in GR, curved space causes time dilation.

How that relates to velocity I'm not sure.
bluehigh
5 / 5 (1) Jan 19, 2016
WG,

I'm not a fan of the expression 'time dilation'. Seems to me to be one of those thought constraining expressions that Edward De Bono would suggest are limiting. Off track ...

Its weird and the GPS is not required to demonstrate the effect. Just take a clock, even a mechanical clock, to the top of a mountain and it measures time at a different rate. (You likely already know this).

I've read a variety of explanations, some worthy of discussion, from Mass seeking the lowest flow rate of time as an explanation of gravitational effect to a genuine paper that proposed it's all about acceleration and absolute velocity is discounted.

Perhaps your creative mind will find an answer. If so, please share as I'm also troubled especially by the fact that, given all human accomplishments and much intellectual pursuit, we are no closer to an answer.

42 was an answer. Are we asking the right questions?

Ok ... I'll go take some medication now. Perhaps a shot for you too?

Whydening Gyre
1 / 5 (1) Jan 19, 2016
WG,

. Just take a clock, even a mechanical clock, to the top of a mountain and it measures time at a different rate. (You likely already know this).

I do. However, you also realize that a clock on a mountain 12000 ft high (or however high) is also moving faster (around a center point) than you are at sea level...

Ok ... I'll go take some medication now. Perhaps a shot for you too?

Still on a "break", so have at it...:-)
It is for medicinal purposes, after all...
Whydening Gyre
3 / 5 (2) Jan 19, 2016
Gravity causes time dilation as well WG ...

http://www.astron...gps.html

I'm aware of this BO. Just can't figure out why...:-)
So if you are a believer in GR, curved space causes time dilation.

dilation or contraction just depends on which side of the curve you are on...:-)
So yes, a GR subscriber. Especially the "General"(-ly) part...:-)

Bloodyorphan
1 / 5 (1) Jan 19, 2016
Fair enough WG, other good questions are ...

What is Gravity ? ( Curved space doesn't really answer that, only describes it )

Does simple velocity affect time ? (I tried to find answers to this , thinking the Voyagers and other probes would give some clues but couldn't find anything)

If time is affected only by acceleration, then perhaps there is a relationship between kinetic energy/ energy conservation and time ?
Whydening Gyre
1 / 5 (1) Jan 19, 2016
WG,
I'm not a fan of the expression 'time dilation'. Seems to me to be one of those thought constraining expressions that Edward De Bono would suggest are limiting.

I would prefer "lag time"..:-)
Is he related to that guy from U2?
Whydening Gyre
3 / 5 (2) Jan 19, 2016
What is Gravity ? ( Curved space doesn't really answer that, only describes it )

Good one. An artist's personal opinion here only, so take it for what it's worth...:-)
Gravity is what happens when a huge number of (spinning) magnetic moments reach a "critical mass" and begin "spinning" together.
(Oh, and - Thanks to My2 for the Dr. Evil reference on quotes:-)
Does simple velocity affect time ?

In a way, it makes sense, but more so in an "observational sense". (not quite sure what that means, but it's in my head, so...) Hell, Time might even affect velocity!
If time is affected only by acceleration, then perhaps there is a relationship between kinetic energy/ energy conservation and time ?

RELATIVE time (observers) is definitely. Kinda like time zones, but in a depth sense (layered, if you will) vs a flat sense.
Think 3d...
As to the 2nd part of that sentence - jury is still out until they get a better handle on kinetic E/E conservation part..
Whydening Gyre
3 / 5 (2) Jan 19, 2016
What is Gravity ? ( Curved space doesn't really answer that, only describes it )

Space is space. Curved space is an "artifact" of gravitational presence. Which, in turn, is an artifact of a accumulated mass. Which, in turn is an artifact of electromagnetic interaction between atomic particulates. And so on...
Bloodyorphan
5 / 5 (1) Jan 19, 2016
I'll give you 5 stars for those responses buddy, here's some other stuff you might like ...
http://www.dailym...ang_tech
Whydening Gyre
2 / 5 (2) Jan 19, 2016
I'll give you 5 stars for those responses buddy, here's some other stuff you might like ...
http://www.dailym...ang_tech

Thanks, BO.
Watched a little. Interesting. Those guys are way out of my league math-wise...:-)
That said, when I said space is space, I didn't necessarily mean absolute flat. I've seen some numbers indicating "to within .04(yada-yada) percent" of flat/straight. That indicates curvature, in my book. A big curve, yes. But still - curved. Inside of the curve or outside of it, I have no idea. Since we seem to be seeing expansion, I would guess outside. From the inside we would see "growth" - or some directional indicator. A minor, but significant, difference between the two.
(cont.)

Whydening Gyre
2 / 5 (2) Jan 19, 2016
(cont.)
Extrapolating from that I am guessing our universe is spherical in general structure (toroidal more specifically) - and growing (Or moving) through another "space"/dimension... and Expansion indicating an open set (so far).
I look at it as a giant "field" - which in my mind, is always moving. Corkscrewing it's way through that other "space", much as we do around our own galaxy.
Anyway. It's how I make sense of all the data available. Since I don't know the language of math like many others, I count on their input/observations to construct my interpretive visualizations.
Where does it all end? Who knows - and it prob'ly doesn't...:-)
Everything is Relative to something else - even Relativity...:-)
Bloodyorphan
3 / 5 (2) Jan 19, 2016
You should watch the whole thing bud, it's not math intensive.

I favour the membrane collision myself.

Who knows, our whole Universe may be accelerating at the prior Universe' speed of light, which is what makes all the particle mass in our Universe persist, and when we stop accelerating, poof the entire universe might annihilate :-)
Whydening Gyre
3 / 5 (2) Jan 19, 2016
You should watch the whole thing bud, it's not math intensive.

I favour the membrane collision myself.

Who knows, our whole Universe may be accelerating at the prior Universe' speed of light, which is what makes all the particle mass in our Universe persist, and when we stop accelerating, poof the entire universe might annihilate :-)

Or... the next level up is already spinning and moving faster than OUR speed of light...:-)
Meaning our Uni is just an artifact of IT's existence...:-)
Will watch when time available. Working butt off in shop to prep for the coming show season...

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