New neutron star discovered in The Frying Pan

26 August 2009

Neutron stars are almost the proverbial diamond in the sky. To date, less than 2 000 have been detected in our galaxy, which is filled with billions of 'normal' stars.

Dr Stephen Ng, a postdoctoral fellow in the Sydney Institute for Astronomy (SIfA) at the University of Sydney, and his team have discovered an extremely rare neutron star or pulsar - one caught in the act of bursting out of a supernova remnant called The Frying Pan.

The neutron star has left behind a long straight trail or 'handle', which comes out of the round supernova remnant (which looks like a 'pan'). The newly discovered star is located right at the tip of the handle of The Frying Pan.

The neutron star's long and linear trail is extremely rare and this is the only known example that connects all the way back to the supernova shell. The Frying Pan reveals for the first time the complete history of such a system and confirms that the neutron star was created in the supernova explosion.

The paper reporting this work, Out of the Frying Pan; A Young Pulsar with a Long Radio Trail Emerging from SNR G315.9-0.0 is to be published in August 2009 in The Astrophysical Journal (Letters).

Contact: Katynna Gill

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