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Pulsars can glitch?

I didn’t realize that pulsars can glitch. But some do. As Wiki notes: “Certain types of pulsars rival atomic clocks in their accuracy in keeping time.” So, there are different types of pulsars, eh.

This Space.com article (April 30, 2018), “Captured! Radio Telescope Records a Rare ‘Glitch’ in a Pulsar’s Pulsing Beat,” notes that:

Pulsars are rapidly rotating neutron stars and sometimes they abruptly increase their rotation rate. This sudden change of spin rate is called a “glitch” …

Approximately 5-6 percent of pulsars are known to glitch. The Vela pulsar is perhaps the most famous – a very southern object that spins about 11.2 times per second and was discovered by scientists in Australia in 1968.

It is 1,000 light-years away, its supernova occurred about 11,000 years ago and roughly once every three years this pulsar suddenly speeds up in rotation.

The full article explores what glitches may be about — that pulsars miss a beat.

Never talked about pulsars in my college fluid dynamics classes.

One thought on “Pulsars can glitch?

  1. So, how big is a neutron star? This Space.com (May 1, 2018) article “NASA Will Solve a Massive Physics Mystery This Summer” describes research on determining the width of Earth’s nearest neutron-star neighbor.

    If researchers can figure out the width of a neutron star, physicist Sharon Morsink told a crowd of scientists at the American Physical Society’s (APS) April 2018 meeting, that information could point the way toward solving one of the great mysteries of particle physics: How does matter behave when pushed to its wildest extremes?

    And answering that question, Watts said, could unlock answers to all sorts of particle-physics mysteries that have nothing to do with neutron stars. For example, he said, it could help answer just how individual neutrons arrange themselves in the nuclei of very heavy atoms.

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