Pulsar cannonball run
Image captures rare high-speed phenomenon.
Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico have found a pulsar speeding from its presumed birthplace at nearly 1120 kilometres per second, with its trail pointing directly back at the centre of a shell of debris from the supernova explosion that created it.
“This pulsar has completely escaped the remnant of debris from the supernova explosion,” says Frank Schinzel, of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). “It’s very rare for a pulsar to get enough of a kick for us to see this.”
The pulsar has been dubbed PSR J0002+6216, and about 6500 light-years from Earth.