Off World

Mathematicians have come up with a new method to weigh stars

Greg CandelarioOctober 7th 2015
The Breakthrough

Mathematicians working at the University of Southampton have discovered a new way to measure the mass of pulsars – highly magnetized rotating neutron stars that formed from the remains of massive stars after they explode into supernovae. Prior to this discovery, the mass of celestial objects was determined by analyzing their motion in relation to other objects nearby and using gravitational pull between the two as the basis for their calculations. However Dr Wynn Ho, of the University of Southampton, who led the research announced For pulsars, announced that they have been able to use principles of nuclear physics, rather than gravity, to work out mass.

The Implications

The team’s results have important implications for the next generation of radio telescopes being developed by large international collaborations. The discovery and monitoring of many more pulsars is one of the key scientific goals of these projects, and this methodology will help us understand much more about these distant astronomical objects

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