Astronomers identified the first exoplanets near a pulsar, a fast-revolving star, thirty years ago. According to scientists at the University of Manchester, these exoplanets are very uncommon. University of Manchester researcher Iuliana Nitu presented the latest findings at the 22nd National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 22) on July 12.

Astronomers are unaware of the mechanisms that lead to the formation and survival of planets near pulsars. In the past fifty years, the Jodrell Bank Observatory conducted a study of 800 pulsars. The scan has found that the first planetary system discovered may be exceptionally rare. This is because less than 0.5% of all known pulsars could house planets of Earth’s mass.

How Do Pulsars Work?

Pulsars are a type of neutron star formed near the conclusion of a normal star’s existence by massive explosions. They are the densest stars in the cosmos, as well as the most stable, fast revolving, and possessing extraordinarily powerful magnetic fields. The magnetic poles of these stars release beams of intense radio emission that appear to pulse as the star spins.

If you imagine a cosmic lighthouse, that’s how Iuliana Nitu described pulsars, according to a statement released by the Royal Astronomical Society. Incredibly, pulsars’ signals may be picked up by radio telescopes, which can then be used to decode them and reveal hitherto undiscovered phenomena.

Which Pulsar Do the First Ever Discovered Exoplanets Orbit?

The first exoplanets were discovered by Aleksander Wolszczan in 1992, orbiting a pulsar designated PSR B1257+12. At least 3 of the planets in this system have been calculated to have masses similar to the rocky planets in our solar system.

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A small number of planet-hosting pulsars have been identified since 1992. Extremely intense circumstances surrounding the births and lifespan of pulsars, according to the Royal Astronomical Society, make ‘regular’ planet formation implausible, and many of the observed planets are strange objects. For instance, certain planets are mostly composed of diamonds. These planets are presumably those in our solar system that are currently known.

Formation Of Different Pulsar-Planet Systems Than Traditional Star-Planet Systems

Astronomers at the University of Manchester have carried out the most comprehensive search to date for planets that orbit pulsars. They looked for signals that may indicate the existence of exoplanet with masses approximately up to 100x that of Earth and orbiting periods ranging from 20 days to 17 years. The astronomers discovered eleven possible possibilities. According to the Royal Astronomical Society, the planet might contain at least two planets with masses many times that of Earth and orbital periods ranging from 1.9 to 3.6 years.

The data include information on the geometry of the orbits of these planets. The planets in pulsar-planet systems would orbit their stars on very irregular routes, which demonstrates that the process of formation for pulsar-planet systems is very different from that of standard star-planet systems. In comparison to the circular path orbits that are seen in our solar system, the planets in pulsar-planet systems would orbit their stars on very irregular routes.

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