A jaw-dropping gamma ray pulsar has been spotted outside our galaxy for the first time ever.
It’s the brightest gamma-ray pulsar ever discovered, and it’s also the first pulsar of its kind ever spotted outside of our galaxy.
A team of researchers going through data from produced by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope’s Large Area Telescope, which is orbiting the Earth, were able to make an amazing sighting: a pulsar blasting high-powered gamma rays in the Tarantula Nebula of the Large Magellanic Cloud, which is one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies, according to a Christian Science Monitor report.
Scientists have seen this pulsar before, but in the pasts it had been blasting out other wavelengths of light like X-rays — never gamma rays. But their analysis of the data shows that these pulsars are more varied in what kind of light they send out than had been previously thought, according to the report.
It’s the first time scientists have ever detected a pulsar emitting gamma rays outside of our own Milky Way galaxy. And its brightness is unmatched — the brightest pulsar scientists had found before was located in the Crab Nebula, and it has one twentieth of the luminosity of this new pulsar. It’s such an extraordinary finding that it could lead to breakthroughs in how scientists understand pulsars.
A pulsar is formed when a star collapses into a neutron star, a dense core that is small in size but incredibly massive, about 1.4 times the mass of our sun. These stars blast out incredibly bright beams of radiation, which are known as pulsars. We can only see these beams when they are pointed straight at us, almost as if it were a laser pointer deep in space. Scientists take note of this regularly repeating signal.