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Distributed computing project [email protected] discovers 13 new gamma-ray pulsars

Distributed computing project Einstein@Home discovers 13 new gamma-ray pulsars

A gamma-ray pulsar is a compact neutron star that accelerates charged particles to relativistic speeds in its extremely strong magnetic field. This process produces gamma radiation (violet) far above the surface of the compact remains of the star, for example, while radio waves (green) are emitted over the magnetic poles in the form of a cone. The rotation moves the emission regions across the terrestrial line of sight, making the pulsar light up periodically in the sky. Credit: © NASA/Fermi/Cruz de Wilde

Distributed computing project [email protected] discovers 13 new gamma-ray pulsars

An analysis that would have taken more than a thousand years on a single computer has found within one year more than a dozen new rapidly rotating neutron stars in data from the Fermi gamma-ray space telescope. With computing power donated by volunteers from all over the world an international team led by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hannover, Germany, searched for tell-tale periodicities in 118 Fermi sources of unknown nature. In 13 they discovered a rotating neutron star at the heart of the source. While these all are – astronomically speaking – young with ages between tens and hundreds of thousands of years, two are spinning surprisingly slow – slower than any other known gamma-ray pulsar. Another discovery experienced a “glitch”, a sudden change of unknown origin in its otherwise regular rotation.

“We discovered so many new pulsars for three main reasons: the huge computing power provided by [email protected]; our invention of novel and more efficient search methods; and the use of newly-improved Fermi-LAT data. These together provided unprecedented sensitivity for our large survey of more than 100 Fermi catalog sources,” says Dr. Colin Clark.
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2017-01-einsteinhome-gamma-ray-pulsars.html#jCp



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