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The mystery of the shining pulsars: a long-standing mystery discovered by the astronomers

The mystery of the shining pulsars

For almost 50 years, the scientists have been puzzling over a space riddle. Why do the pulsars shine? The astronomers were able to answer that question only today. The pulsars are called fast-rotating neutron stars that emit wide waves of a radio beam. In a new study conducted by the NASA experts, it turned out that these radio waves can be identified. It turned out to be associated with the formation of particles with powerful magnetic fields.

When the British atrophysicist Jocelyn Bell first recorded the radiance of a pulsar in 1967, the astronomers were surprised by the rhythmic impulses. They suggested that these are the signals that an alien civilization sends to the Earth. Stars are a kind of the cosmic beacons.

They emit radio waves that's rays form at their magnetic poles. That process had been confusing the scientists for 50 years. The researchers say that now they were able to uncover that mechanism, and it will help in projects studying the gravitational waves of pulsars. The study begins with the strong electric fields of the pulsar.

They separate the electrons from the surface of the star and accelerate them to extreme energies. Accelerated electrons begin to emit high-energy gamma rays. These rays are absorbed by the superstrong magnetic field of the pulsar. In the process, a stream of additional electrons and their analogues of antimatter, called positrons, is produced.

The newly created charged particles act in a weakening manner on the electric fields, causing them to oscillate. These oscillations near powerful pulsars lead to the emission of electromagnetic waves into space. Modeling the plasma, the astrophysicists have found that these waves are fully consistent with the radio waves that come from the pulsars.

The lead author of the study, Alexander Filippov, a junior fellow from the Center for Computational Astrophysics at the Flatiron Institute in New York, believes that the observed process is very similar to lightning.

A powerful discharge literally appears out of nowhere, that forms a cloud of electrons and positrons, and powerful electromagnetic waves become the consequence. And the fast rotation of the pulsars generates powerful electric fields.