Astronomers trying to unravel the mysteries of the distant spinning stars known as pulsars have announced the discovery of the first evidence that one of the whirling bodies is creating a pulsar wind.
The pulsar, a star that makes a complete rotation every 1.6 milliseconds, is surrounded by a halo of hydrogen gas that scientists at the California Institute of Technology say is apparently the luminescent evidence of the pulsar wind."This pulsar is giving off high velocity wind composed of very energetic particles. The star is pushing wind out of its way," explained J. Jeff Hester, co-author of the discovery reported in the British journal Nature.
The wind itself is composed of the very particles of which "the solar system, all of the planets and even people are made," said Hester, noting the hydrogen, helium, nitrogen and carbon composition he and his colleagues detected in the pulsar 3,000 light years from Earth. A light year is estimated at about 6 trillion miles.