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Warwick Scientists Discover First Ever White Dwarf Pulsar After 40 Years

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Big news in space science – after years of research and various space theory finally Warwick University students discovered a dwarf pulsar. Professors Tom Marsh and Boris Gänsicke of the University of Warwick’s Astrophysics Group, and Dr. David Buckley from the South African Astronomical Observatory, have discovered and confirmed a hypothesis proposed by amateur astronomers in 2016. Some Astronomers working together have confirmed the existence of a white dwarf pulsar, and identified the first star. Astrophysicists have been combing the visible universe for stars of this type for 50 years.

A pulsar is a star with an extremely high density and a strong magnetic pull. Every pulsar discovered so far is a neutron star, the collapsed core left behind by the supernova of a massive star. Neutron stars are very hot, and typically very bright, which makes them comparatively easy to locate.

This historic binary star is made up of both a white dwarf around the size of Earth (but around 200,000 times denser) and a ‘nearby’ red star. The distance is three times greater than that between the Earth and the Moon between them, the two celestial bodies are practically neighbors in galactic terms.

Their observations caught the attention of professional astronomers, including Marsh. “AR Scorpii was discovered over 40 years ago, but its true nature was not suspected until we started observing it in June 2015,” he said at the time. “We realized we were seeing something extraordinary the more we progressed with our observations.”

The team also said that this white dwarf pulsar bombards its poor red dwarf neighbor with all manner of electrical energy and particles during its two-minute rotational period.

The first pulsar was discovered (a rotating star that emits electromagnetic radiation) in 1967, scientists have only been able to find evidence of larger neutron stars as pulsars.


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