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Hungry Millisecond Pulsar Found Feeding 15

Posted by michael
from the yum-yum dept.
Gopher971 writes: "The latest joint discovery by the Hubble Telescope is a Millisecond Pulsar feeding off of it's companion Red Giant star. Scientists have long speculated on how Milli Pulsars formed and now have proof to back up their claims. See the UniSci link and The Irish Times link."
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Hungry Millisecond Pulsar Found Feeding

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  • is that... no.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by elroyjenkins (221758) <elroyjenkins@ERD ... g minus math_god> on Friday February 22, 2002 @09:52AM (#3050832)
    A link [ireland.com] to an artists representation of the process...


    tee hee... tell me that "object" in the middle isnt a sperm, geez...
    did disney make the pic or something?
  • Hmmm, blackhole (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gyl (318790) on Friday February 22, 2002 @10:51AM (#3051146)
    So, does anybody out there know enough about astrophysics to know how close this thing would be to becoming a black hole? THAT would be a cool process to watch. Basically, the question is, how massive is the pulsar, and how much stuff is it sucking up from the companion star?
  • Two theories (Score:5, Interesting)

    by marcus (1916) on Friday February 22, 2002 @11:34AM (#3051384) Journal
    I'm not really up-to-date, but...

    Both say that the material will pile up on the surface until it reaches fusion temperatures and then start to burn.

    One says that the burn will be fast and explosive, blowing all the rest of the new, degenerate and normal matter off of the surface. An extension of this idea suggests that the explosion, since it is very unlikely to be symmetrical and simultaneous all over the surface of the neutron star, will disrupt and break up the neutron star itself. We are talking about a big, nova or supernova class explosion here.

    The other says that the fusion burn will be slow, intermittent or periodic, something more like a continuous series of neutron star sized burps and blow stuff off here and there and simply heat things up. The heat and radiation from the explosions slows the infall of matter, a form of negative feedback, so that the process is self throttling. Somewhere along the way, it might accumulate enough to collapse, otherwise the process just continues until the donor star "runs out of gas" and then everything calms down.

    There are nuances to both depending on the rate of deposition, spin, size of the original neutron star, etc.

    Mostly there's just not enough data to tell, perhaps both happen depending on the situation.

One man's "magic" is another man's engineering. "Supernatural" is a null word. -- Robert Heinlein

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