Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Pulsar kick

A pulsar kick is the phenomenon that a neutron star often does not move with the velocity of its progenitor star (the origin star of a supernova explosion), but rather with a substantially greater speed. The cause of pulsar kicks is unknown, but many astrophysicists believe that it must be due to an asymmetry in the way a supernova explodes.

It is generally accepted today that the average pulsar kick ranges from 200–500 km/s. However, some pulsars have a much greater velocity. For example, the hypervelocity star B1508+55 has been reported to have a speed of 1100 km/s and a trajectory leading it out of the galaxy.

An extremely convincing example of a pulsar kick can be seen in the Guitar Nebula, where the bow shock - generated by the pulsar B2224+65, is moving relative to the supernova remnant nebula has been observed and confirms a velocity of 800 km/s. The Guitar Nebula is a stellar corpse that is tearing through interstellar gas and creating a guitar-shaped wake of hot hydrogen.



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