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Over 100,000 Views for Pulsar Animation

Submitter: Joeri van Leeuwen
Description: Two movies accompany the press release for the presentation at AAS225, Seattle, Jan 4-8 of our results on pulsar J1906+0746.

Within a few days these have done amazingly well, together drawing more than 100,000 views from all over the world.

The animation above shows the effect of "geodetic precession" in the observer pulsar. Two neutron stars orbit one another. The star visible as a pulsar shows rotating beams. The companion is frozen at the frame center. In a flat space-time, where the companion is massless but the pulsar does orbit it for illustrative purpose, the pulsar rotation axis (represented by the arrow) is unchanged after one orbit. Once the companion mass increases to the measured 1.32 solar mass (about half a million Earth masses, but in a sphere only 10 kilometer across), space-time curves. Within one orbit, the pulsar axis now slants (the effect is exaggerated 1 million times here). Because of that change, the pulsar is now all but invisible from Earth!

This animation shows the binary edge-on; the other animation depicts the system as seen from Earth.
Copyright: JvL
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