Scientists Found An Astounding Pulsar No One Has Ever Seen Before

Scientists have detected what appears to be an incredibly dense star behaving unlike anything else ever seen – and suspect it might be a type of exotic astrophysical object whose existence has been only hypothesised until now.

The object, spotted using the Murchison Widefield Array telescope in outback Western Australia, unleashed huge bursts of energy roughly three times per hour when viewed from Earth during two months in 2018.

It may be the first known example of what is called an ”ultra-long period magnetar.”

This is a variety of neutron star – the compact collapsed core of a massive star that exploded as a supernova – that is highly magnetised and rotates relatively slowly, as opposed to fast-spinning neutron star objects called pulsars that appear from Earth to be blinking on and off within milliseconds or seconds.

It is located relatively close to Earth in cosmic terms, roughly 4,200 light years away, where a light year is the distance light travels in a year, 9.5 trillion km.

Neutron stars including pulsars are among the universe’s densest objects.

They are roughly 12 km in diameter – akin to the size of a city – but with more mass than our Sun.

A neutron star with an extreme magnetic field, a magnetar, could potentially power the radio pulsations, the researchers said.