Using the MeerKAT radio telescope, astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Bonn, Germany, and elsewhere have discovered 13 new pulsars in the Omega Centaurus globular cluster. The discovery is detailed in a paper published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Pulsars are highly magnetized neutron stars that spin around and emit a beam of electromagnetic radiation. They are usually detected in the form of short bursts of radio emission; However, some of them have also been observed via optical, X-ray, and gamma-ray telescopes.
Now, a team of Astronomy scientists Weiwei Chen of MPIfR announced the discovery of new pulsars in Omega Centauri (aka NGC 5139) – the largest globular cluster in our galaxy, located about 17,000 km away. light years Away. To date, only five pulsars have been identified in this cluster.
“We used the extreme sensitivity of the MeerKAT radio telescope to search for pulsars in Omega Centauri…. In this paper, we present the discovery of 13 new pulsars in Omega Centauri, which more than tripled the number of known pulsars in this cluster.” The researchers wrote. .
The new pulsars (designated PSR J1326−4728F to PSR J1326−4728R) are found within the core and also between the core and radius of Omega Centaurus. All new objects can be classified as Millisecond pulsars (MSPs) as they have rotation periods of less than 30 ms (between 2.27 and 18.95 ms). Turns out, seven of them binary systemsThe remaining six are isolated pulsars.
The pulsars reported in the study have scattering measurements in the order of 94.27 pcs/cm3. When it comes to the orbital periods of the seven binaries, they are found to range from approximately 0.094 to 1.18 days. The astronomers added that six binaries have very light companions and two of them have visible eclipses.
The discovery made by Chen’s team increases the number of pulsars in Omega Centaurus to 18 and makes the pulsar clusters in this cluster dominated by isolated ones (10 pulsars). Furthermore, all binary pulsars in this GC, with the exception of PSR J1326−4728Q, have very low mass companions (with masses smaller than 0.1 solar masses), typical of so-called ‘black widow’ systems.
The paper’s authors hope to find more pulsars in Omega Centauri as part of the Transient and Pulsars Survey with MeerKAT (TRAPUM).
We also note that future TRAPUM observations with UHF (550–1100 MHz) and S-band (1750–3500 MHz) receivers will likely increase the number of known Omega Centauri pulsars in all regions by examining different spectral windows.
W Chen et al, MeerKAT discover 13 new pulsars in Omega Centauri, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2023). DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stad029. in arXiv: DOI: 10.48550/arxiv.2301.03864
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