NASA discovers neutron star outside Milky Way galaxy
(WASHINGTON) Circa - NASA astronomers have discovered a neutron star outside of the Milky Way galaxy for the first time.
"Neutron stars are the ultra-dense cores of massive stars that collapse and undergo a supernova explosion," NASA explains on their website." This newly identified neutron star is a rare variety that has both a low magnetic field and no stellar companion."
The stunning image was captured by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Southern Observatory's VLT (Very Large Telescope ) in Chile.
Scientists analyzing the data collected from the telescope believe that this is an isolated neutron star created in a supernova explosion about two millennia ago.
Ten similar objects have been identified by astronomers before. However, this is the first time one was detected outside of our galaxy.
It was Jocelyn Bell, a British astrophysicist that first discover these spinning neutron stars nearly 50 years ago.
Now, NASA will launch a mission to learn more about neutron stars.
"The agency plans to launch the two-in-one Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer, or NICER, aboard SpaceX CRS-11, a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station to be launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket," NASA said in a statement.
"The mission will focus especially on pulsars — those neutron stars that appear to wink on and off because their spin sweeps beams of radiation past us, like a cosmic lighthouse," NASA stated.
The spacecraft will be equipped with 56 X-ray mirrors that will assist in gathering data and observations of pulsars.