Need a kick-start? You would be hard-pressed to find one more powerful than a supernova – a sudden explosion in which a dying star ejects most of its mass. That is what happened to the pulsar pictured here, sending it racing away from its home with a tail of particles and magnetic energy stretching behind it for 13 light years. In the image above, the star is at the left end of the yellow tail and is heading away from the big bubble.
“It’s very rare for a pulsar to get enough of a kick for us to see this,” said Frank Schinzel, of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Virginia, in a statement. He and his colleagues observed the pulsar – an extremely dense corpse of a star – with a radio telescope in New Mexico called the Very Large Array, and reported their results at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in California. Read More