There are times when you can't see what's going on. We all do it, but you would think it would be a lot harder if that thing is a very fast and very loud pulsar.
There is also the situation with PSR J05237125.
A pulsar is a type of star. I wrote it before.
The dense corpse of a massive star that exploded as a supernova is called a pulsar. The outer layers of the star are destroyed. If the core has less than three times the Sun's mass, it will turn into a ball of neutrons. If you took every car in the United States and crushed them down, they would be the size of a sugar cube.
Powerful magnetic fields can be trillions of times stronger than Earth's. This sets up a lot of different phenomena, one of which is that this powers incredibly strong beams of radiation that blast away from the magnetic poles of the star, which sweeps around the sky due to the Neutron star's rotation like a pair of lighthouse beams.
Traditionally, searching in that part of the spectrum has been the way to find plikas. The Large Magellanic Cloud is 170,000 light-years away and is a smallish companion to the Milky Way. They looked at the data from the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder, or ASKAP, a radio observatory that is a technology testbed for the Square Kilometer Array.
The astronomy team looked for sources that were variable in brightness and sensitivity. As you would expect for a pulsar, they found 27 that were seen but also small and unresolved in the data. The radio waves were aligned in two of the sources and that suggests each source has a magnetic field.
One was identified as a star while the other wasn't. They used other telescopes and were surprised to see a pulsar. It spins three times per second because it has a period of less than 30 minutes.
The distance was unexpected. Radio waves travel through space and pass through charged particles between the stars. The amount of delay depends on the amount of material the waves interact with and the wavelength of the light. The wavelength of the radio waves can be seen on Earth. The measure is called the pulsar dispersion measure
If we know the amount of material between us and the source, we can give the distance to the pulsar. The farther away the pulsar is the more stuff there is to scatter the waves.
The Large Magellanic Cloud is where they found this technique in their pulsar.
This makes it one of the most illuminating pulsars. It has some strange properties and was missed before because of it. Usually a pulse is short, but this one lasts for a third of the total rotation. The beams are more like squat cones than they are tightly focused.
It is not clear why it was missed, but I have heard that it was mistaken for a galaxy, but that is not mentioned in the research paper or the press release. It might have been overlooked because it looks like millions of distant galaxies blasting out radio waves. It is possible, even likely, but it isn't like someone analyzed it carefully in the past and concluded it was a universe. It was one of the bright sources.
The good news is that it shows the technique the team used and may make it possible to find more extragalactic pulsars. Since they are close to us, the majority of them are inside our universe. They will give us insight into their stellar populations, the distribution of gas inside them, and a lot more.
Learning more about the stars. They are the size of a small city but can be seen hundreds of thousand of light-years away.