Astronomers Have Identified The Most Powerful Pulsar Yet in a Distant Galaxy

Large star remnants called neutron stars are dense objects. They are the shattered centers of stars that were created in supernova explosions.

While we largely understand how kids develop, especially in their early years, we are continuously learning.

Large sky surveys, however, are beginning to change that by enabling astronomers to see a neutron star that may be only a few years old.

VT 1137-0337 is the designation of the relevant neutron star. It was discovered in 2018 as part of the Very Large Array Sky Survey and is located in a dwarf galaxy 400 million light-years from Earth (VLASS). A radio map of the sky is being made as part of the seven-year VLASS project. Over the course of three different runs, it will have successfully mapped around 80% of the sky.

It first observed VT 1137-0337 in 2018, and it observed the neutron star once more in 2019, once more in 2020, and once more in 2022. So, we are certain that it is not only a brief radio burst of some type.

The item is most likely a pulsar wind nebula, according to measurements. The neutron star's magnetic field and energy beams pass through the surrounding nebula as it rotates, ionizing the gas and causing it to generate radio waves.

It's noteworthy to note that VT 1137-0337 was missed by the Faint Images of the Radio Sky at Twenty-Centimeters (FIRST) VLA sky survey, which was conducted in 1998. The neutron star so emerged sometime between 1998 and 2018.

On the surface, VT 1137-0337 appears to be less than twenty years old, although it may actually be a little older. It's conceivable that the neutron star was present in 1998, but that the nebula around it was still thick enough to prevent radio waves from reaching Earth.

However, given how quickly supernova remnants grow, the fog should have dissipated within 60 to 80 years, making even the most conservative estimates suggest it is just a few decades old rather than thousands or even millions of years old. VT 1137-0337 is an extremely young neutron star that may just be 14 years old.

The Crab Nebula, which was formed by a supernova in 1054 CE, has radio radiation, but VT 1137-0337's is 10,000 times stronger. Its magnetic field is therefore significantly stronger. So strong that VT 1137-0337 could be developing into a magnetar. Fast radio bursts are most likely caused by strongly magnetic neutron stars called magnetars (FRBs).

Therefore, although this may be the first observation of a magnetar birth, it won't be the last. Future sky surveys by astronomers will undoubtedly turn out additional births of these powerful objects.

Note: Brian Koberlein works as a science writer for NRAO, which operates the VLA and VLASS, but was not involved in the research presented here.

This article was originally published by Universe Today. Read the original article