PSC Camp: Announcement

Terzan 5– the pulsar gift that keeps on giving

Globular clusters are so cool.  They are really old… globular clusters contain the oldest of stars, and date back to the beginning of our Milky Way, and may be a good place to look for alien civilizations!  And they are dense- hosting a million stars in a volume only 100 light years across. It is this fact that interests astronomers using pulsars as a way to probe the inner structure and origin of these ancient relics.t5pulsars_side

Globular cluster Terzan 5 is home to 37 known pulsars! Many of these are rapidly spinning pulsars known as millisecond pulsars. Astronomers have bean measuring Terzan 5’s uneven tug of gravity on these pulsars to determine the internal structure of the cluster.

Read more here!

Lorimer Burst Discovery Story in WVU Magazine!

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The universe is sending us 10,000 messages every day. You can’t see them. You can’t understand them. But then again, neither can anybody else.

Astrophysics professor Duncan Lorimer was sitting at his desk in Hodges Hall at West Virginia University in early 2007 when one of his undergraduate students walked in. Physics and political science senior David Narkevic had been looking through readouts of radio signals from the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia. He was looking for more examples of a kind of rotating star—a pulsar—that emits very short radio signals. And he found something.

It was strange. A dark line in a place on the graph that meant it was incredibly far away. If the reading was right, it was possible that the signal was both a billion light years away and a billion years in the past.

Lorimer took a look. And then he put it aside. It probably wasn’t anything. “I kind of told him to go back to work, and I put it in a drawer,” Lorimer said.

Read the rest in WVU Magazine.