Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


We live in a wonderfully insane universe.
September 13, 2007 1:18 AM   Subscribe

NASA Astronomers Find Bizarre Planet-Mass Object Orbiting Neutron Star [via]
posted by brundlefly (45 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Finally someone finds my keys...
posted by From Bklyn at 1:56 AM on September 13, 2007


Wow, cosmic!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:03 AM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Nifty. Like Heisenburg said: "Not only is the Universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think."
posted by sotonohito at 3:44 AM on September 13, 2007


The "artist's conception" picture reminds me of how NASA got so much (in my opinion) absurd flak for publishing false color images about fifteen years ago.

Nifty stuff!
posted by HeroZero at 4:13 AM on September 13, 2007


This is fascinating. From the Bad Astronomy link: imagine "an object that is far more massive than Jupiter, being tossed around at well over one million miles per hour!".

I wish I paid more attention to astronomy and science in school rather than waiting until my late thirties to discover how much cool shit there is out there.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 4:41 AM on September 13, 2007


The source was named SWIFT J1756.9-2508 for its sky coordinates in the constellation Sagittarius.

enough of this science! what do the astrologers say?!
posted by fuzzypantalones at 5:03 AM on September 13, 2007


Quite a bit of dramatic potential there. They used to be companion stars, one blew up and is now drawing the other in and consuming it.
posted by DU at 5:27 AM on September 13, 2007


Fuck! Would you just look at some of the shit that's out there! Someone could make a concept album about this thing, is how cool it is, man. Wow.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:35 AM on September 13, 2007


Normally I'm against pre-emptive warfares, but I think we should surely make an exception for this thing. This is clearly some Doom-style shit involving portals to hell.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:51 AM on September 13, 2007 [5 favorites]


The accompanying paper is available here.
posted by Upton O'Good at 5:53 AM on September 13, 2007


The universe is pretty cool.

Consider that the neutron star in question is essentially a giant nucleon, but held together by gravity instead of the forces that normally hold atoms together.

A tablespoon of the neutronium that makes up the star would weigh more than Mount Everest, and any object unlucky enough to fall into the neutron star would be smashed into "a puddle barely an atom thick" under it's own weight.

Yup, pretty cool.
posted by Avenger at 5:59 AM on September 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


That's no moon. It's a space station...
posted by LordSludge at 6:05 AM on September 13, 2007


Also, a neutron star with the volume of Texas would have a surface area of 17 football fields!

If you stacked the neutron stars on top of each other, it would take 43,000 to reach the Moon!

In the time it takes a neutron star to wipe its ass, the Great Wall of China could be reduced to the width of a single human hair!
posted by DU at 6:08 AM on September 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


It's the Excession.
posted by WPW at 6:44 AM on September 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


NASA Astronomers Find Bizarre Planet-Mass Object Orbiting Neutron Star

Wrong, they found a planet-mass Neutron star orbiting another star, of which they said:
This object is merely the skeleton of a star," says co-discoverer Craig Markwardt of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "The pulsar has eaten away the star’s outer envelope, and all the remains is its helium-rich core."
posted by delmoi at 6:45 AM on September 13, 2007


Also, a neutron star with the volume of Texas would have a surface area of 17 football fields!

What's the volume of Texas?
posted by delmoi at 6:46 AM on September 13, 2007



Wrong, they found a planet-mass Neutron star orbiting another star, of which they said:


Err, sorry. I'm wrong. The 'star skeleton' is orbiting the neutron star/pulsar. (Technically they are both orbiting each other) but I got confused about what was orbiting what.
posted by delmoi at 6:50 AM on September 13, 2007


Kind of like Uranus orbiting Klingons.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:52 AM on September 13, 2007


What's the volume of Texas?
I'm not sure what it is normally, but occasionally they'll turn it up to eleven.
posted by Floydd at 6:57 AM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Normally I'm against pre-emptive warfares, but I think we should surely make an exception for this thing. This is clearly some Doom-style shit involving portals to hell.

Yeah, and it hates our freedom, too.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:57 AM on September 13, 2007


Surely skygod is working on our replacements.
posted by ninjew at 7:19 AM on September 13, 2007


Oh noes! The cheela!
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:36 AM on September 13, 2007


These so-called millisecond pulsars are neutron stars that spin hundreds of times per second, faster than a kitchen blender.

Faster than a kitchen blender? OMG!
posted by brain_drain at 7:41 AM on September 13, 2007


Moby said we're all made of stars.
posted by davebush at 7:43 AM on September 13, 2007


V GER?
posted by gcbv at 7:44 AM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fascinating, thanks for the post.
posted by languagehat at 7:49 AM on September 13, 2007


Woot.
posted by Mister_A at 7:51 AM on September 13, 2007


I heard that a neutron star can have the height of Sylvester Stallone, but the mass of Arnold Schwarzenegger
posted by Hicksu at 7:53 AM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


There's a Chuck Norris joke in here somewhere. If only I could find it.
posted by papercake at 8:07 AM on September 13, 2007


Nitpickyfilter: sotonohito, that quote is usually attributed to J.B.S. Haldane, not Heisenburg.

Cool link though. Thanks! I often just how frikkin cool it would be to stand on the deck of some ship and actually witness some of the awesomely cool stuff that gets discovered these days. It's probably a million times more awesome than any artist depiction. Where's my darn starship already?!
posted by elendil71 at 8:20 AM on September 13, 2007


There's a wonderful pair of novels about life on a neutron star by Dr. Bob Forward: Dragon's Egg and Starquake. If you can get past the unbelievably trite and dull humans and their lame-ass conversations, the vision of life forms based on neutronic interactions instead of molecular ones is awesomely clever and fun.
posted by ulotrichous at 8:32 AM on September 13, 2007


I swear to God, we better not have any plans to fuck with Europa.
posted by shmegegge at 9:05 AM on September 13, 2007


It's good to see the guy who did the album covers for Journey can still find work.
posted by leapfrog at 9:21 AM on September 13, 2007 [7 favorites]


That's great and all, but it looks like some cosmic brat was playing with ketchup packets again. Where is its MOTHER.
posted by katillathehun at 9:52 AM on September 13, 2007


Neato!

It's kind of like my skinny stoner friend carl, who, after imbibing, goes to the supermarket and, by pot-fueled-munchie gravity, sucks up all the icecream in the store but does not get any larger.
posted by lalochezia at 9:55 AM on September 13, 2007


That's no moon. It's a ... *GACK*
I find your lack of original conversation disturbing.
posted by straight at 9:55 AM on September 13, 2007


*GACK*
posted by LordSludge at 10:15 AM on September 13, 2007


I love artist depiction's of celestial events.

Here's mine:

O o
posted by quin at 10:49 AM on September 13, 2007


Shouldn't the little one be blinking?
posted by brundlefly at 10:55 AM on September 13, 2007


How about:

O @
posted by brain_drain at 10:59 AM on September 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Mmmmm...helium-rich core.
posted by QuestionableSwami at 12:16 PM on September 13, 2007


Mmmmm...helium-rich core.
posted by quin at 1:09 PM on September 13, 2007


Aren't pulsars normally slowing down because of the interaction of their magnetic fields with surrounding ionized gases?

All the gas the pulsar is eating from the star skeleton must be changing its angular momentum somehow. If the star being consumed was originally a companion of the star that became a pulsar, it seems to me the pulsar wouldn't be slowing down as fast as a typical pulsar, because the pulsar would be rotating in the same direction as the revolution of its companion and the gas falling in would have angular momentum in the same direction-- or it could even be speeding up. If it's slowing down faster than usual, that might indicate the skeleton is revolving opposite the rotation of the pulsar and that it was therefore probably captured.
posted by jamjam at 1:42 PM on September 13, 2007


JamJam - the interaction with the companion star actually does speed up the rotation of the pulsar. That is why it is a "milli-second" pulsar. Typical pulsars spin a few times per second, this one spins 182 times per second. There are some other pulsars that spin this fast and they all have companions that have transferred mass onto them and "spun them up".
posted by kms at 3:01 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


That's not a knife. That's a knife.
posted by neuron at 5:28 PM on September 17, 2007


« Older The website of the ridiculously awesome Newseum ha...  |  Who is taller, Bin Laden or Bi... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments