Forty years of the signals from the green men
Neutron stars have confirmed the general theory of relativity to within 0, 05%.
It all started quite banal. Known as early as the mid-1960s the British radio astronomer Antony Hewish instructed his graduate student Jocelyn Bell to make your own telescope to study celestial background and search for new quasars. With the help of her colleagues, she reeled in the hundreds of wooden pillars kilometers and kilometers of wires, thereby creating a highly sensitive antenna, which began to receive strange and regular signals.
Jocelyn at first thought it was interference from nearby either military, or commercial stations. Then she began to check the technical parameters of its barbed wire. Ultimately, Jocelyn came to the conclusion that the signals have a cosmic origin.
At the head of it at first, even frightened at the thought of "little green men" sending into space a kind of coded message of the immense depths of space. For six months they hid from all the opening bell until finally in 1968, not published in the journal Nature, a joint report on the pulse signals.
Article bombshell. The whole world is talking about objects, whose name was born literally overnight - pulsars. Current signatories theorists rather quickly calculated that it is a natural stage in the evolution of small stars, the helium core that burned, and the remaining mass under the action of gravity collapsed ("imploded") on itself. As a result, electrons, protons were implanted into the formation neutrons. So there are neutron stars whose mass reaches 1030 tons and a diameter of not more than 20 km. Bell herself, talking about the density of these celestial objects, resulting in the following comparison: "Imagine that the whole of humanity" packed "in a small thimble!»
Giant energy concentrated just a point in space, makes a neutron star spinning at a rate of several times per second. Since pulsars are rotating at the same speed, they are among the most accurate clocks. The discovery of pulsars allowed to put the first real experiments to test Einstein's relativity. Today managed to get a confirmation of the general theory of relativity to within 0, 05%.
Over time, it became clear that pulsars are extinct relatively small remnants of stars of different masses. If the mass of the star at her birth no more than 100 solar and helium content of 2-40 mass of our luminary, its evolution leads to the formation of a small pulsar, which formed the center of a black hole. All can result in not too bright supernova explosion.
The discovery of pulsars spurred the development of cosmology, which recognized the hard science of physics (similar to hard currencies). Even 15 years ago, our scientist Vladimir Usov published in Nature article, which theoretically considered the possibility of the existence of millisecond pulsars, that is rotating at a frequency of more than 700 revolutions per second. They had to have huge magnetic fields and is a powerful source of gamma radiation (X-ray did not, and still more powerful)!
No one then imagined he could not, that only through some fifteen years these "blazars" or GRB - Gamma-Ray Bursts, will really open in the depths of the universe. This is one of the most remarkable discoveries made in 2007. I would not be surprised if it is awarded the Nobel Awards nearest.
The study of pulsars is not terminated because of all the new satellites, space platforms and ground-based telescopes. In a recent issue of Nature published an article by Sergei Blinnikova National Laboratory in Los Alamos, where once "forged" the first American atomic bomb. In this article he examines the nature of the supernova of 2006 (SN2006gy - Super-Nova), which is at least 10 times stronger than normal.
The scientist believes that the collapse of the core of the star classical - is not the only mechanism of flares. In massive stars, the pressure of the masses and gravity result in the formation of pairs of electrons and their antiparticles positrons - the so-called pair instability. They are so excited that they begin to burn from the explosion. Energy Star core drastically reduced, and their collapse followed by a second explosion with the release of a few solar masses of matter. The collision of two shock waves leads to the emission of huge amounts of light that is at least 10 times the luminosity of the ordinary supernova.
While this theory is based on calculations of energy flow coming to us from outer space from the pulsating objects. But it is quite possible that in the near future we will witness the birth of another supernova, confirming the correctness of Blinnikova. And it may be that for pulsars give a second Nobel Prize. First given in 1974, only one Hewish. Apparently, Nobel experts felt it was wrong to give the highest award post-graduate student. Head of the research on the subject of parity did not insist, but in the history of the Nobel Prizes, one such example is available. Jocelyn Bell for 40 years has to justify his boss.