Research report 2020 - Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Hanover)
Einstein@Home discovers black widow pulsar
Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik, Teilinstitut Hannover, Hannover
SummaryThe mystery of a gamma-ray source known for two decades has finally been solved. An extremely rapidly rotating neutron star in a binary system is the source of the gamma rays. For this discovery, 10 years of gamma-ray data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has been analysed, using the distributed volunteer computing project Einstein@Home. The thorough study of this neutron star and its companion using gamma-ray data and optical observations reveals a truly extreme binary system. Material evaporated from the companion star likely blocks radio waves from the neutron star.