Objects out in the universe can travel at incredible speeds that are hard for humans to comprehend. NASA’s Fermi satellite has clocked a pulsar moving through space at an insane velocity. The satellite tracked the pulsar streaking through space at 2.5 million miles per hour.
At that velocity, the pulsar could travel from the Earth to the Moon in six minutes. The discovery was made by Fermi and the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array. A pulsar is a superdense and rapidly spinning neutron star that is the remnant of a massive star that exploded.
The pulsar that Fermi clocked is called PSR J0002+6216 and is called J0002 for short. NASA notes that the pulsar has a radio-emitting tail that points directly toward the expanding debris of a recent supernova explosion. That tail allowed scientists to tie the pulsar to the blast that created it easily.
NASA plans further study of the pulsar and the explosion that created it. Further research will help scientists to understand better how supernova explosions can toss neutron stars into space at such high speeds.
Pulsar J0002 was discovered in 2017 via a citizen-science project called [email protected] using time on volunteer computers to process Fermi gamma-ray data. The computer processing time has collectively exceeded 10,000 years and identified 23 gamma-ray pulsars so far. At this time the pulsar is 53 light-years from the center of the supernova remnant called XTB 1 where it was created.