Distributed volunteer computing project finds two rapidly rotating neutron stars in data from Fermi gamma-ray space telescope
The distributed computing project Einstein@Home aggregates the computing power donated by tens of thousands of volunteers from across the globe. In a survey of the gamma-ray sky, this computer network has now discovered two previously unknown rapidly rotating neutron stars in data from the Fermi gamma-ray space telescope. While all other such millisecond pulsars have also been observed with radio telescopes, one of the two discoveries is the first millisecond pulsar detectable solely through its pulsed gamma-ray emission. The findings raise hopes of detecting other new millisecond pulsars, e.g., from a predicted large population of such objects towards the center of our Galaxy.
Extragalactic source of energetic radio bursts resides in a strongly magnetized astrophysical region
New detections of highly polarized flashes of radio waves from the repeating fast radio burst FRB121102 have revealed the presence of a strong magnetic field in the source’s local environment. Such strong magnetic fields are rare in astrophysical environments and suggest that the source of the burst is in the vicinity of a massive black hole or within a nebula of unprecedented power.