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Fast-Moving Pulsar

Accepted submission by martyb at 2014-02-20 04:42:12
How fast is fast? In a car, 100 mph is pretty quick, and 200 mph would be considered very fast. Then consider a commercial passenger jet; the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has a cruising speed of 560 mph. Much quicker, but still a comparative slowpoke when you start thinking about spacecraft. Voyager-1 is currently traveling about 38,100 miles per hour. That's MUCH faster... at that speed it could take a lap around the earth at the equator in about 40 minutes! That's fast, right?

Now imagine a pulsar [] (which has from 1.4-2 solar masses) traveling at 2.5-5 million mph. That works out to 0.0035-0.007 times the speed of light. Now, that is fast!

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."

There are great pics available at that link for download if you are looking for a new wallpaper for your computer.

(Ahead of the trolls, the figure in mph was quoted from NASA's web site.)

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