Featured Image: A Slow-Spinning X-Ray Pulsar

This image (click for a closer look!) reveals the sky location of a new discovery: the slowest spinning X-ray pulsar — a spinning, highly magnetized neutron star — ever found in an extragalactic globular cluster. The pulsar, XB091D (circled in the bottom left inset), lies in the globular cluster B091D in the Andromeda galaxy. In a recent study led by Ivan Zolotukhin (University of Toulouse, Moscow State University, and Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences), a team of scientists details the importance of this discovery. This pulsar is gradually spinning faster and faster — a process that’s known as recycling, thought to occur as a pulsar accretes material from a donor star in a binary system. Zolotukhin and collaborators think that this particular pairing formed relatively recently, when the pulsar captured a passing star into a binary system. We’re now seeing it in a unique stage of evolution where the pulsar is just starting to get recycled. For more information, check out the paper below!


Ivan Yu. Zolotukhin et al 2017 ApJ 839 125. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aa689d