Home > Astronomy, General Astronomy, Pulsars > Pulsar With Widest Orbit Ever Detected, Discovered By High School Research Team

Pulsar With Widest Orbit Ever Detected, Discovered By High School Research Team


Artist's impression. Credit: B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF)

Artist’s impression. Credit: B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF)

A team of highly determined high school students discovered a never-before-seen pulsar by painstakingly analyzing data from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT). Further observations by astronomers using the GBT revealed that this pulsar has the widest orbit of any around a neutron star and is part of only a handful of double neutron star systems.

This impressive find will help astronomers better understand how binary neutron star systems form and evolve.

Pulsars are rapidly spinning neutron stars, the superdense remains of massive stars that have exploded as supernovas. As a pulsar spins, lighthouse-like beams of radio waves, streaming from the poles of its powerful magnetic field, sweep through space. When one of these beams sweeps across the Earth, radio telescopes can capture the pulse of radio waves.

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