Clingy dark matter may slow corpse star spins

July 8, 2014

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Composite Optical/X-ray image of the Crab Nebula, showing synchrotron emission in the surrounding pulsar wind nebula, powered by injection of magnetic fields and particles from the central pulsar. Credit: Optical: NASA/HST/ASU/J. Hester et al. X-Ray: NASA/CXC/ASU/J. Hester et al.Round and round a pulsar goes, but add dark matter and its spin starts to slow.

Pulsars are dense stellar cores left over when massive stars blow up. They rotate very fast, shining light from their poles that we see as regular flashes on Earth. Their strong magnetic fields gradually slow their spin, but over the past 15 years, astronomers have noticed that many pulsars are slowing more than we would expect.

Chris Kouvaris (CP3-Origins) and M. Ángeles Pérez-García (Salamanca) have recently published a paper in Phys. Rev D on this matter. Kouvaris was later interviewed by New Scientist on the paper.