Japanese astronomers and their colleagues from the United States, Europe, and China observed the Crab Nebula and found that the power of pulsar bursts is hundreds of times higher than expected.
The authors observed changes in the intensity of the glow of the Crab Nebula pulsar: they did this both in the radio wavelength range and in the high-energy region. It turned out that the neutron star became 4% brighter in the X-ray range during the most powerful radio flares.
This means that their real power is hundreds of times higher than theoretical estimates.
Teruaki Enoto, Science Team Leader at the RIKEN Institute in Waco, Japan
The amplified radiation found in the X-ray range was similar to that previously reported in the visible range, but none of the other 2,800 known pulsars have ever seen anything like it.
The authors observed the well-studied pulsar PSR B0531 + 21, which is located in the center of the Crab Nebula. It was formed quite recently by astronomical standards, in 1054 AD,
Long-term observations indicated that the brightness of the pulsar slightly increased in the optical range at those times when GRP flares appeared on its surface. This led scientists to believe that PSR B0531 + 21 can produce not only unusually powerful flashes of visible light and radio waves but also beams of X-rays and other types of high-energy radiation.
The authors collated all the data and found that virtually all GRP flares were accompanied by a sharp increase in the pulsar’s brightness in the X-ray range by 3-4%. The actual power of the bursts was tens or hundreds of times higher than theorists had previously believed.