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Researchers observe ‘cosmic hiccups’ of Bursting Pulsar

Published: 9 May 2018
Illustration
The 'Bursting Pulsar' ‘hiccups’ as it strips matter from a nearby giant star

Astronomers from the University of Southampton have found a rare class of neutron star that has a tendency to ‘hiccup’ as it strips mater from its stellar neighbour.

Jamie Court, a postgraduate researcher in Southampton’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, published observations of the Bursting Pulsar - GRO J1744-28 – in a new paper of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Using archived data from NASA's orbiting RXTE observatory, Jamie found that a constantly shifting fight between the star’s infalling gas and magnetic field causes matter to be swallowed in discrete 'gulps' or 'hiccups'.

The research also observed that the Bursting Pulsar may be the slowest known ‘transitional pulsar’ in existence.

“This exciting discovery will allow us to explore the messy physics of these cosmic hiccups in a more extreme environment than ever before,” he explains.

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