October 3, 2023

The astronomical mystery of an unusually faint pulsar has been solved

This pulsar has a high and low mode

Since this matter accretion process began, the sweeping jet has virtually disappeared, and the pulsar has begun to rotate continuously between two modes. At high position, the pulsar emits bright X-ray light, which glows in the ultraviolet and visible light spectrum. In low mode, it is weaker in this frequency range and emits more radio waves.

A pulsar can remain in any position for several seconds or minutes and then switch to the other position within a few seconds. On just one night in June 2021, the investigation observed the system switching between high and low modes more than 280 times. This transformation was previously a mystery to experts.

The mystery of J1023 has been solved and research is still ongoing

The reason for this is the complex interaction between the pulsar’s winds and matter. A pulsar’s wind consists of a stream of high-energy particles being blown away from the pulsar. On the other hand, matter flows toward the pulsar.

In the low position, the material flowing towards the pulsar is ejected in a narrow plane perpendicular to the disk. Matter accumulates more and more near the pulsar and is hit by the pulsar’s winds. This heats the material and the system switches to high mode.

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