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posted by LaminatorX on Saturday February 22 2014, @02:30AM   Printer-friendly
from the it's-all-relative dept.

martyb writes:

"Scientists have discovered a pulsar (with an estimated mass of between 1.4 and 2 solar masses) traveling at an estimated 2.5 to 5 million mph (0.0035c to 0.007c). According to NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory:

Originally discovered with the European Space Agency satellite INTEGRAL, the pulsar is located about 60 light-years away from the center of the supernova remnant SNR MSH 11-61A in the constellation of Carina. Its implied speed is between 2.5 million and 5 million mph, making it one of the fastest pulsars ever observed.

By comparison, one of the fastest man-made objects is the Voyager-1 spacecraft, currently traveling at an estimated 38,100 mph relative to the sun, or approximately 0.000056c (5.6 x 10-5 c)."

 
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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Daniel Dvorkin on Saturday February 22 2014, @02:46AM

    by Daniel Dvorkin (1099) on Saturday February 22 2014, @02:46AM (#4660) Journal

    Wouldn't you kind of expect a pulsar to be moving fast, since (IIRC) it was created by an asymmetrical supernova explosion? The amount of energy involved in that is mind-boggling.

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    • (Score: 1) by khchung on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:31AM

      by khchung (457) on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:31AM (#4740)

      Then you would have to explain why a supernova would be asymmetrical enough to give a significant boost to the pulsar in any particular direction.

    • (Score: 2) by martyb on Saturday February 22 2014, @02:36PM

      by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 22 2014, @02:36PM (#4825) Journal

      Daniel Dvorkin (1099) wrote:

      Wouldn't you kind of expect a pulsar to be moving fast, since (IIRC) it was created by an asymmetrical supernova explosion? The amount of energy involved in that is mind-boggling.

      My understanding is the creation of a pulsar does not require an asymmetry supernova. See "Formation" section on wikipedia - Pulsars [wikipedia.org].

      By the way, the quoted mass of a pulsar was not in the linked article, but rather was the result of a quick search on the net. It was also pretty late, so the value of 1.4-2 solar masses may well be incorrect. (Things were moved around from what I had in my submission: http://soylentnews.org/submit.pl?op=viewsub&subid= 187 [soylentnews.org].)

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      • (Score: 2, Informative) by Daniel Dvorkin on Saturday February 22 2014, @03:12PM

        by Daniel Dvorkin (1099) on Saturday February 22 2014, @03:12PM (#4833) Journal

        It doesn't mention asymmetry in the article on pulsars, but it does in the article on supernovas [wikipedia.org]. Looks like the cause is somewhat mysterious, but the phenomenon is well-known.

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        • (Score: 1) by martyb on Saturday February 22 2014, @04:13PM

          by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 22 2014, @04:13PM (#4860) Journal

          Daniel Dvorkin (1099) wrote:

          It doesn't mention asymmetry in the article on pulsars, but it does in the article on supernovas [wikipedia.org]. Looks like the cause is somewhat mysterious, but the phenomenon is well-known.

          Huh! Well how about that! Thanks for passing along that link - that's what I love about this site! I learn something new every day!

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  • (Score: 2, Informative) by randmcnatt on Saturday February 22 2014, @03:04AM

    by randmcnatt (671) on Saturday February 22 2014, @03:04AM (#4662)
    IGR J11014-6103: Has the Speediest Pulsar Been Found? [harvard.edu] That was from June 28, 2012. There is a mention there of a report in The Astrophysical Journal [iop.org] but I couldn't find it there.

    Maybe they (astronomers) have confirmed the velocity, etc.
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    • (Score: 4, Informative) by randmcnatt on Saturday February 22 2014, @03:28AM

      by randmcnatt (671) on Saturday February 22 2014, @03:28AM (#4665)
      Hate to reply to my own post, but I knew it had to be out there somewhere.

      Is IGR J11014-6103 a pulsar with the highest known kick velocity? [iop.org]
      You can read the article or download a PDF.
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    • (Score: 1) by mrcoolbp on Saturday February 22 2014, @03:31AM

      by mrcoolbp (68) <mrcoolbp@soylentnews.org> on Saturday February 22 2014, @03:31AM (#4666) Homepage

      Looks like the same one, and it seems you would be correct: in your linked article it explains that they need to confirm speed, and it looks like they were dead on already.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by frojack on Saturday February 22 2014, @05:54AM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 22 2014, @05:54AM (#4705) Journal

    Comparing the speed of a pulsar to a man made object seems somewhat pointless.
    Its not like any of us can conceptualize Voyager-1's speed any way.

    Why not compare it to other pulsars or fast moving stars, or even the speed of our own star in its journey around the galaxy?

    Compared to the cosmic microwave background, our galaxy is barreling along at 1,234.788.83 mph [wikipedia.org], making this Pulsar look slower than molasses.

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    • (Score: 5, Funny) by mrcoolbp on Saturday February 22 2014, @06:35AM

      by mrcoolbp (68) <mrcoolbp@soylentnews.org> on Saturday February 22 2014, @06:35AM (#4711) Homepage

      It's all relative.

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    • (Score: 5, Informative) by stormwyrm on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:14AM

      by stormwyrm (717) on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:14AM (#4737) Journal

      I checked the WP link you've got there by the way, and did conversions myself. You do very odd mixing of commas and periods, and find that the Milky Way's speed relative to the CMB is 552 km/s or 1,230,000 mph (using the proper number of significant figures). The pulsar's speed is quoted as 2.5 to 5 million mph, or at least double and up to nearly five times faster than the Milky Way's speed relative to the CMB. The pulsar is moving away from its supernova remnant much faster than the Milky Way is moving relative to the CMB!

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      • (Score: 1) by mrdavis on Saturday February 22 2014, @03:52PM

        by mrdavis (729) on Saturday February 22 2014, @03:52PM (#4850)

        But how fast is it moving relative to the Library of Congress?

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by nobbis on Saturday February 22 2014, @01:40PM

      by nobbis (62) on Saturday February 22 2014, @01:40PM (#4818) Homepage Journal

      So how does it compare to the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow ?

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    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by mtrycz on Saturday February 22 2014, @04:32PM

      by mtrycz (60) on Saturday February 22 2014, @04:32PM (#4863)

      A car analogy would be nice, actually.

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  • (Score: 2) by ticho on Saturday February 22 2014, @10:17AM

    by ticho (89) on Saturday February 22 2014, @10:17AM (#4768) Homepage Journal
    Looks like Wan-To [wikipedia.org] is playing again...