The Brightest, Most Distant Pulsar in the Observable Universe –“1,000 Times More Luminous Than Thought Possible”
The pulsar is also the most distant of its kind ever detected, with its light travelling 50 million light-years before being detected by XMM-Newton.
If suitably aligned with Earth these beams are like a lighthouse beacon appearing to flash on and off as it rotates. They were once massive stars that exploded as a powerful supernova at the end of their natural life, before becoming small and extraordinarily dense stellar corpses.
The archival data also revealed that the pulsar’s spin rate has changed over time, from 1.43 s per rotation in 2003 to 1.13 s in 2014. The same relative acceleration in Earth’s rotation would shorten a day by five hours in the same time span.