Nav: Home

Microscopic deformation of a neutron star inferred from a distance of 4500 light-years

August 20, 2020

Imagine that the size of a bacterium is measured from a distance of about 4500 light-years. This would be an incredible measurement, considering that a bacterium is so small that a microscope is required to see it, and what an enormous distance light can travel in 4500 years, given that it can round the Earth more than seven times in just one second. But a small deformation of the size of a bacterium, that is an extra height of a few micrometres in one direction, has now been inferred for a neutron star at a distance of about 4500 light-years, from a research by Prof. Sudip Bhattacharyya of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), India. This research is published in a new paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Neutron stars are incredibly dense cosmic objects. They are about the size of a city, but contain more material than in the Sun, and a handful of stellar stuff would outweigh a mountain on the Earth. Some of them are observed to spin several hundred times in a second, and we call them millisecond pulsars. A slight asymmetry or deformation around the spin axis of such a star would cause the emission of gravitational waves continuously.

Gravitational waves, which are ripples in spacetime, have recently provided a new window to the universe. But so far they have been found as transient phenomena of mergers of black holes and neutron stars. Continuous gravitational waves, for example from a slightly deformed and spinning neutron star, have so far not been detected. The current instruments may not have the capability to detect these waves, if the deformation is too small.

However, a way to indirectly infer such waves and to measure this deformation is to estimate the contribution of the waves to the spin-down rate of the pulsar, which was not possible till now. PSR J1023+0038 is a unique cosmic source for this purpose, because it is the only millisecond pulsar for which two spin-down rates, in the phase of mass transfer from the companion star and in the phase when there is no mass transfer, were measured. Using these values, and primarily a fundamental principle of physics, that is the conservation of angular momentum, Bhattacharyya has inferred continuous gravitational waves and has estimated the neutron star's microscopic deformation.
-end-


Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

Related Bacterium Articles:

Tuberculosis bacterium uses sluice to import vitamins
A transport protein that is used by the human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis to import vitamin B12 turns out to be very different from other transport proteins.
Bacterium makes complex loops
A scientific team from the Biosciences and Biotechnology Institute of Aix-Marseille in Saint-Paul lez Durance, in collaboration with researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam and the University of Göttingen, determined the trajectory and swimming speed of the magnetotactic bacterium Magnetococcus marinus, known to move rapidly.
Researchers show how opportunistic bacterium defeats competitors
The researchers discovered that Stenotrophomonas maltophilia uses a secretion system that produces a cocktail of toxins and injects them into other microorganisms with which it competes for space and food.
Genetic typing of a bacterium with biotechnological potential
Researchers at Kanazawa University describe in Scientific Reports the genetic typing of the bacterium Pseudomonas putida.
How the strep bacterium hides from the immune system
A bacterial pathogen that causes strep throat and other illnesses cloaks itself in fragments of red blood cells to evade detection by the host immune system, according to a study publishing December 3 in the journal Cell Reports.
The cholera bacterium can steal up to 150 genes in one go
EPFL scientists have discovered that predatory bacteria like the cholera pathogen can steal up to 150 genes in one go from their neighbors.
Exploiting green tides thanks to a marine bacterium
Ulvan is the principal component of Ulva or 'sea lettuce' which causes algal blooms (green tides).
The cholera bacterium's 3-in-1 toolkit for life in the ocean
The cholera bacterium uses a grappling hook-like appendage to take up DNA, bind to nutritious surfaces and recognize 'family' members, EPFL scientists have found.
Excellent catering: How a bacterium feeds an entire flatworm
In the sandy bottom of warm coastal waters lives Paracatenula -- a small worm that has neither mouth, nor gut.
Cancer prevention drug also disables H. pylori bacterium
A medicine currently being tested as a chemoprevention agent for multiple types of cancer has more than one trick in its bag when it comes to preventing stomach cancer, Vanderbilt researchers have discovered.
More Bacterium News and Bacterium Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.