Scientists are seeing stars

Pulsar B0943+10 has some severe mood issues. Professor of astrophysics Dr. Joanna Rankin has been given the opportunity to study the strange behavior of Pulsar B0943+10, a University Communications article stated. “The conditions in pulsars are extreme, far beyond any we can produce here on Earth,” John Perry, professor of astrophysics said. “So we can learn about nature under those extreme conditions, which could change our thinking about everything. We can also learn about stars and how they live and die, which of course our own sun will do someday. It’s good to know about that.” A pulsar is a dense neutron star that gives off beams of radiation, the article stated. Unlike a normal pulsar, which constantly gives off radiation, Pulsar B0943+10 has an inconsistent pattern Rankin believes that the cause of these “mood changes” is due to the varying temperatures at the polar caps of the star, the article stated. In order to study the pulsar, Rankin will be observing it with radio and X-ray telescopes. She will be traveling to the Netherlands in February with her other researchers in order to use the technology, according to the article. The observations will continue later in the year with the launch of the European Space Agency’s X-ray multimirror mission, which will study the same pulsar with X-rays for a full 36 hours, the article stated. She hopes that the varied heating of the star will be revealed through the X-ray images from the European Space Agency’s new telescope, the article stated. “If there really is a difference it will be a major new direction. There is something that nobody has ever had occasion to do before,” Rankin said to University Communications. The extreme science involved would help to achieve a greater understanding of the fundamentals of physics, the article stated. Rankin hopes that with this research, many of the mysteries surrounding the pulsar will be revealed to the scientific world, the article stated.