8 extremely rare ‘millisecond pulsars’ discovered inside globular clusters | Daily Current Affairs 2021

8 extremely rare ‘millisecond pulsars’ discovered inside globular clusters

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An international team of astronomers has recently discovered eight millisecond pulsars.

These pulsars were located within the dense clusters of stars, known as “globular clusters,” using South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope.

About Milli second Pulsars:

  • Millisecond pulsars are neutron stars.
  • They are extremely compact stars mainly made up of neutrons, and are amongst the most extreme objects in the universe.
  • They pack hundreds of thousands of times the mass of the Earth in a sphere with a diameter of about 24 km.
  • They spin at a rate of hundreds of rotations per second.
  • They emit a beam of radio waves that are detected by the observer at every rotation, like a lighthouse.
  • The formation of these objects is highly enhanced in the star-rich environments at the centers of globular clusters.

About the discovery:

  • The Pulsar discovery comes from two international collaborations TRAPUM and MeerTIME.
  • This is the first pulsar discovery using the MeerKAT antennas.
  • Ridolfi and his colleagues used the MeerKAT telescope — an array of 64 individual satellite dishes run by the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO).
  • The astronomers directed the telescope towards nine globular clusters and they discovered new pulsars in six of them. Of these, six of them orbit around another star.
  • The discovery will help the Globular Cluster Pulsar Survey of TRAPUM.

MeerKAT Telescope

  • MeerKAT Telescope
  • It is a Karoo Array telescope with sixty-four antennas.
  • It is also a radio telescope.
  • It is located in the Northern Cape of South Africa.
  • It is soon to be expanded to MeerKAT+ by installing twenty more antennas.

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