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29th of October 2018
LOFAR discovery of a 23.5-second radio pulsar
by Tan et al.
An international team of astronomers have discovered the slowest-spinning radio pulsar yet known - the neutron star spins around only once every 23.5 seconds. This is over 15,000 times slower than the fastest-spinning pulsar known. The discovery was made using observations from the LOFAR Tied-Array All-Sky Survey, aimed at discovering more pulsars. Moreover, the pulsar spins so remarkably slowly that it can also be seen blinking 'on' and 'off' in images from LOFAR's imaging survey. It is surprising that a pulsar can spin so slowly and still create radio pulses. The pulsar is approximately 14 million years old but still has a strong magnetic field. This challenges and informs our theories about how pulsars shine. The findings are published in the Astrophysical Journal, and are available in this preprint.

The image above shows an artist's conception of the newly-discovered 23.5-second pulsar. Radio pulses originating from the pulsar (shown in the inset image), which is located in the constellation Cassiopeia some 5,200 light-years away from Earth, are detected by the LOFAR telescope. (Image credit: Danielle Futselaar and ASTRON).

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