The computers of some of the hundreds of thousands of volunteers who give their teams within the collaborative computational project ‘Einstein @ Home ‘ (Einstein at home) have uncovered a new and rare press in the Milky Way . The data has provided the Arecibo Observatory ( Puerto Rico).
Citizens Chris and Helen Colvin, Ames ( Iowa, USA), and Daniel Gebhardt , University of Mainz ( Musikinformatik , Germany ) were the three volunteers Einstein @ Home project (Einstein at home ) which have been recognized “officially “the discovery of a new push in the Milky Way . But all three are part of a much larger group that give the capacity of their computers when not working.
Their computers , along with another 500,000 worldwide , analyze data to Einstein @ Home , which uses computer time donated homes and offices of 250,000 volunteers in 192 different countries (on average donors provide two computers per person) .
The three volunteers have discovered radio waves of a new pulsar hidden in data collected by the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. This is the first discovery in deep space for Einstein @ Home.
The new pulsar , called PSR J2007 +2722 is a neutron star that makes 41 rotations per second. It is located in the Milky Way about 17,000 light years from Earth in the constellation Vulpecula. Unlike most pulsars that spin so fast and uniform , PSR J2007 +2722 is only in space , with no other stars orbiting close to him.
Astronomers find it particularly interesting, because it is probably a pulsar that has lost its mate. However , they can not rule out that it is a young pulsar born with a weaker magnetic field than usual.
Science at home
Einstein @ Home , which has its headquarters at the Center for Gravitation and Cosmology , University of Wisconsin (USA ) and the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics ( Albert Einstein Institute in Hannover, Germany) has been searching for gravitational waves in data LIGO Observatory U.S. since 2005.
Since March 2009, also began looking for radio signals from pulsars with astronomical observations from Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Arecibo is the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world, and is managed by Cornell University ( USA). About a third of the capacity of computers Einstein @ Home is used to search data from Arecibo.
“This is an exciting time to Einstein @ Home and our volunteers . This shows that citizen participation can help to discover new things in our universe. I hope it will inspire more people to join us and help find other secrets hidden in the data, ” said Bruce Allen , director of the Einstein @ Home project and the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics , and associate professor of physics at the University of Wisconsin.
The article’s authors are a graduate student Allen, Benjamin Knispel , Albert Einstein Institute , Germany; Bruce Allen , James M. Cordes , professor of astronomy at Cornell and chairman of the ALFA Pulsar Consortium , and a team of collaborators. This is the first true astronomical discovery made by a computer project shared by citizen volunteers.
“Regardless of the other things we find out about it , it is clear that this pulsar will be extremely interesting to understand the basic physics of neutron stars and how they are formed. To find out, has required a complex system which includes the Arecibo telescope and the computer resources of the Albert Einstein Institute , Cornell Center for Advanced Computing and the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, in order to send data to the volunteers Einstein @ Home of the world , “said Cordes.
B. Knispel et al. “First Pulsar Discovery by Global Volunteer Computing . ” Science, August 12, 2010 . Pag.1/10.1126/science.1195253 .
Einstein predicted in 1916 for the first time the existence of gravitational waves as a result of his theory of general relativity , but have not yet been detected directly. Einstein @ Home came as part of the activities promoted by the American Physical Society during the World Year of Physics , 2005. Over the past five years , Einstein @ Home has been looking for gravitational waves in data from the U.S. LIGO detectors . The Arecibo Observatory is funded by the National Science Foundation , which works with the Max Planck Gesellschaft in sustaining Einstein @ Home.
Radio pulsars are neutron stars that rotate rapidly and emit beams of radio waves similar to light beam of a lighthouse that can reach Earth even with a frequency of 716 times per second. They were discovered in 1967 by Jocelyn Bell and Antony Hewish . (Incidentally , the first was also discovered in the constellation Vulpecula ). Pulsars with a teammate on the orbiting binary pulsars are known . Have been used to verify the theory of general relativity of Einstein with a very high precision.
recycled pulsar “altered ” when two large stars are born close together from the same cloud of gas, can form a binary system and orbit with respect to each other since birth. If these two stars have at least a mass several times larger than that of our Sun end their lives with individual supernova explosions. The first biggest star explodes and leaves behind it a neutron star. If the impact of the explosion does not make the second star moves away, the binary system survives. The neutron star will then be visible as a pulsar emitting radio waves , and slowly lose energy and will rotate slower and slower .
Later, the second star can expand, which makes it possible to absorb the neutron star matter. The matter reaches the neutron star makes this turn faster and reduces its magnetic field. This is called ” recycling ” because it returns to the neutron star into a state of rapid rotation . Finally, the second star explodes as a supernova too , and generates another neutron star. If this second explosion does not destroy the binary system, forming a double neutron star . Otherwise, the neutron star that has regained its momentum runs out partner rotation and becomes a ” recycled pulsar altered ” turning from a few to 50 times per second.
Arecibo Observatory radio telescope is the largest single dish in the world and is used to study pulsars , galaxies, solar system objects and the Earth’s atmosphere . The first binary pulsar was discovered at Arecibo in 1974 and they Hulse and Taylor won a Nobel Prize for Physics in 1993, because it put to a rigorous test of general relativity.
The study Pulsar ALFA ( PALFA ) currently held in Arecibo radiocámara uses a specialized Receiving System Arecibo L-band , and is run by the consortium of astronomers PALFA . The huge data sets from the Arecibo survey are filed and processed initially at Cornell and other institutions of PALFA . For the Einstein @ Home project , data is sent from the Cornell Center for Advanced Computing to Albert Einstein Institute in Hannover through Internet connections , high-bandwidth , is preprocessed and then distributed among computers around the world. The results are returned to the Albert Einstein Institute and Cornell for further research .
ALFA Pulsar Consortium ( PALFA ) was formed in 2003 to conduct a study of large-scale pulsar with the Arecibo telescope . Its membership includes astronomers from 20 universities , institutes and observatories around the world.
Source: SINC / Max Planck Institute
|Category: Astronomy and Astrophysics||Tags: Arecibo Observatory, Gravitational Physics, Milky Way|