Just like living stars, neutron stars can vary in strength. And the one hiding in these vibrant clouds was tricky to confirm because observations indicated it had a low magnetic-field strength. This means the neutron star radiates only at X-ray wavelengths and not at other detectable wavelengths along the electromagnetic spectrum. And while p1 initially appeared to emanate from the middle of the ring of gas that the team was studying, it was initially unclear if this neutron-star candidate was at the center of the ring or farther behind it. An instrument called MUSE (Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer) on the Very Large Telescope helped the team confirm what turned out to be an exciting finding.
The highly precise MUSE instrument spotted a cosmic coincidence: The ring perfectly circled p1. When the team discovered that the neutron star and p1 were one in the same, they compared their findings with the Chandra X-ray Observatory's existing X-ray data on this region f and confirmed their discovery.
"This is the first object of its kind to be confirmed beyond the Milky Way, made possible using MUSE as a guidance tool," Liz Bartlett, an ESO fellow and a co-author of a new study describing the findings, said in the image description. "We think that this could open up new channels of discovery and study for these elusive stellar remains."
The new work was detailed March 2 in the journal Nature Astronomy.
Original article on Space.com.
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