An international team of astronomers has discovered eight rare millisecond pulsars hiding inside dense clusters of stars surrounding the Milky Way. A pulsar is a neutron star — city-sized stellar objects packed with a mass of at least 1.4 times the mass of our sun, which emerge from the explosive deaths of their parent stars — that gives off two beams of radio waves at each pole, due to its strong magnetic field , while also rapidly spinning because of its incredibly large mass. From our perspective, they look like flashing stars, visible only when the beams shine directly at us. “The vast majority of pulsars rotate once every few hundreds of milliseconds or more,” or a handful of times a second, lead author Alessandro Ridolfi, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Astronomical Observatory of Cagliari in Italy, told Live Science. “A millisecond pulsar, on the other hand, is a pulsar that spins hundreds of times per second or, equivalently, once every few milliseconds.” Related: 9 epic space discoveries you may have missed in 2020 In a new study, Ridolfi and his colleagues used the MeerKAT telescope — an array of 64 individual satellite dishes run by the South African… Read full this story
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