Researchers December 8 described the first data collected from NASA’s new orbiting observatory, the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, during the Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics, held in Vancouver this year. Peter Michelson of Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., shared the above map, which shows newly identified pulsars.
The Large Area Telescope on the Fermi observatory has recorded 14 previously unknown pulsars in our galaxy, Michelson reported, adding to one already found earlier. These rapidly rotating neutron stars, the dense cinders left behind when massive stars explode, have only been found to emit gamma rays, not pulses of radio waves as most of the 1,800 known pulsars do.
In the map above, circles denote the pulsars recently discovered by Fermi. Other symbols denote pulsars found using different methods.
If Fermi continues to find gamma-ray–only pulsars at such a high rate, it could double the population of known pulsars. — Ron CowenCredit: IMAGE CREDIT: Fermi LAT collaboration, NASA, DOE
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