Another pulsar in the neighborhood.
Simon Johnston of the Australia Telescope National Facility in Epping and his colleagues discovered the nearby pulsar, which orbits a companion star, while surveying the southern sky with the Parkes 64-meter radiotelescope. The researchers roughly inferred the distance to the pulsar by measuring the dispersion of the star's radio-wave emissions as they traveled through the ionized interstellar medium, the team reports in the Feb. 18 NATURE. The measurement indicates that PSR J0437-4715 vies with only one other pulsar, the once-mysterious Geminga - now estimated to lie within 300 light-years of Earth - as the closest pulsar to the solar system (SN: 1/2/93, p.4).
Both the signal strength and the proximity of the newly identified pulsar should allow direct measurements of the star's distance. Researchers also hope to probe the fine-scale structure and polarization of radio pulses at a level that has never been possible with any other rapidly spinning pulsar.
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|Title Annotation:||PSR JO437-4715 found 400 light-years from Earth|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Mar 6, 1993|
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