Millisecond Pulsars

Context: Pune based astronomers have discovered two new Millisecond Pulsars (MSP) — rotating neutron stars — using an indigenously developed novel technique, which was applied during an ongoing sky survey conducted by the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT).

Image Source: The Indian Express

About Millisecond Pulsars (MSP)
  • MSPs are dense, tiny neutron stars, which are formed when a massive star (for example, the Sun) collapses.
  • They are named pulsars because they emit pulses of radiation at regular intervals. 
  • Millisecond pulsars emit radiation every few milliseconds.
  • The properties of these radiations can reveal key information about the neutron stars, which are the densest bodies in the universe excluding blackholes.
  • Chances of detection of gravitational waves are higher when there is a significant population of MSPs in a region.
Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT):
  • GMRT is a low-frequency radio telescope that helps investigate various radio astrophysical problems ranging from nearby solar systems to the edge of the observable universe.
  • Location: Near Narayangaon in Pune district.
  • Operated by: The National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) under the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
  • Specification: It consists of an array of 30 antennas of 45 m diameter each, spread out over a 30 km region about 80 km from Pune, with sophisticated electronics and computing for processing the data from all the antennas.
Neutron stars:
  • Neutron stars are the remains of the cores of massive stars that have reached the end of their lives.
  • They are one of the two possible evolutionary endpoints of the most massive stars, the other being black holes.
  • Pulsars are rotating neutron stars observed to have pulses of radiation at very regular intervals that typically range from milliseconds to seconds.
  • Pulsars have very strong magnetic fields which funnel jets of particles out along the two magnetic poles.
  • These accelerated particles produce very powerful beams of light.
Source: Indian Express

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