1st Dec 2013
New Evidence of an Asteroid Encountering a Pulsar

Pulsars - neutron stars formed during supernovae explosions - are often considered the “precision clocks” of radio astronomy. This is because of two fundamental properties observed from their radio pulses: the average emitted radio beam - known as the pulse profile - remains very stable over decades, and the pulsar has extreme rotational stability thanks to its fast rotation. 
But the interesting thing about astronomy is even in a field where things are as precise as pulsars, surprises will still crop up. And this is what happened during a 24-year observing campaign of PSR J0738-4042, when in September 2005 the spin-down rate abruptly changed and a new radio component was observed. In fact, no previously understood mechanism can explain these changes, and the observations led the paper’s authors to propose they witnessed an asteroid encountering the pulsar.
Read More.

New Evidence of an Asteroid Encountering a Pulsar

Pulsars - neutron stars formed during supernovae explosions - are often considered the “precision clocks” of radio astronomy. This is because of two fundamental properties observed from their radio pulses: the average emitted radio beam - known as the pulse profile - remains very stable over decades, and the pulsar has extreme rotational stability thanks to its fast rotation. 

But the interesting thing about astronomy is even in a field where things are as precise as pulsars, surprises will still crop up. And this is what happened during a 24-year observing campaign of PSR J0738-4042, when in September 2005 the spin-down rate abruptly changed and a new radio component was observed. In fact, no previously understood mechanism can explain these changes, and the observations led the paper’s authors to propose they witnessed an asteroid encountering the pulsar.

Read More.

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    "Astronomers think they have evidence of an asteroid straight up smashing into a pulsar" would’ve been a way better...
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