Hubble telescope reveals unknown properties of neutron star

The unusual infrared light emission detected by the Hubble Space Telescope from a relatively close neutron star may indicate new, previously unknown properties of such objects.

American-Turkish teamol astronomerow observed strange behavior of pulsar RX J0806.4-4123. The object emits infrared radiation over vast distances. Long-distance emissions from neutron stars are nothing new, but object RX J0806.4-4123 emits only infrared light. This is the first case in whichorym emission has been observed only in the infrared.

Neutron stars are studied primarily in the radium band and high-energy emissions such as X-rays. This study shows that new and interesting information about neutron stars can be roalso obtain by studying them in infrared light.

The results of observations carried out by the teamol scientistoin from Pennsylvania State University, Sabanci University in Turkey, and the University of Arizona, have been published in the „Astrophysical Journal”.

This study may helpoc astronomers to better understand the evolution of neutron stars – incredibly dense debrisoin formed after a massive star (on the order of 8-10 solar masses) explodes as a supernova. Neutron stars are called roalso pulsars.

– This particularolna neutron star belongs to a group of seven nearby pulsarsoIn the X-ray images called "The magnificent Siodemic". They are hotter than their age would indicate and available zasob energy. We have observed an extensive region of infrared emission wokol of the neutron star RX J0806.4-4123 extending to a distance of 200 astronomical units from the pulsar, said Professor Bettina Posselt of Pennsylvania State University.

This is the first neutron star thatorej signal was seen only in infrared light. Scientists suggest two possibilities, whichore could explain observations made with the help of the Hubble telescope’a. The first assumes that wokohe pulsar contains a disk of matter – probably mostly dust.

– One idea is that there may be a disk of matter thatory formed wokoThe glow of a neutron star after a supernova explosion. Such a disk would consist of matter from a massive progenitor star. PoThe farther interaction with the neutron star could have heated up the pulsar and slowed its rotation. If confirmed, it could change our ogolne understanding of the evolution of neutron stars – explained Posselt.

A second possible explanation for the extended infrared emission from this neutron star is the so-called “infrared emission”. A pulsar nebula called roalso a pulsar wind nebula or plerion.

– Plerion requires neutron star to emit pulsar winds. This wind can be produced when particles are accelerated in an electric field, ktore is produced by the high-speed RPMot a neutron star with a strong magnetic field. When a neutron star travels through the interstellar medium faster than the speed of sound, interactions between interstellar matter and the pulsar wind can occur. It is formed inothen the shock wave. The excited particles would then emit synchrotron radiation, causing an infrared signal, ktory we see. Usually pulsar nebulae are seen in X-rays, and a pulsar nebula seen only in infrared would be unusual and exciting – Posselt admitted.

SourceoSource: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, photo. NASA, ESA, N. Tr'Ehnl/ Pennsylvania State University