A powerful telescope has discovered Something in the the Milky Way, 40 thousand light years from the Sun, and scientists are wondering what it could be.
You've probably heard about twinkling stars that resemble lighthouses. These are neutron stars that are called pulsars. Their light doesn't actually flicker or pulsate - the light they emit is highly directional and we see it at regular intervals as a result of their rotation. Pulsars were discovered by astronomers in 1967, and this caused a major sensation in the scientific world. The first discovered pulsars were called Little Green Men, because they thought that this light radiation could be produced by aliens. Pulsars, like other objects in distant galaxies, can be found using radio telescopes located on satellites. To date, a couple of thousand pulsars have already been discovered, and the most distant of them are at a gigantic distance from Earth, hundreds of thousands of light years. Recently, a group of scientists explored the most distant pulsars, located literally at the edge of known space.
Astrophysics from the international research group TRAPUM are on a mission to search for new pulsars using the MeerKAT radio telescope, consisting of 64 huge parabolic antennas located in South Africa. While studying pulsars in the constellation Pigeon, located in the Milky Way at a distance of 40 thousand light years from the Sun, they discovered a strange "couple" - a new pulsar accompanied by some incomprehensible massive object that does not fall under the characteristics of any cosmic bodies and phenomena discovered so far.
The mass of the new object is 2.35 solar masses, which exceeds the mass of the heaviest neutron stars known at the moment. Moreover, according to the so-called Oppenheimer-Volkov formula, the maximum possible mass of a neutron star is limited to exceeding the mass of the Sun by only 2.2 times. In other words, its mass is greater than that of pulsars, but at the same time less than that of black holes, which are the result of the explosion of stars. Until now, scientists have not been able to establish the nature of this new object.
"Within a few years, the parameters of the "record holder" will be significantly clarified and it will become clearer whether it is a massive neutron star or a light black hole. Both will be very interesting, Sergei Popov, a researcher at the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), commented on the find. All experts agree that the discovery of a mysterious object in the Milky Way may mean the existence of previously unknown states of matter in the Space and, in general, bring us closer to a better understanding of the nature of the Universe.