Pulsars have remained a source of fascination for many astronomers due to some of their unique quirks. They are exhausted stars that spin at a surprisingly stable speed. This trait offers the ability to estimate their age and the approximate age of the region, which can be found with impressive accuracy.
In recent years it has been observed that some pulsars appear to be affected by a type of glitch, as they start to spin at faster rates almost instantly. The mechanics behind this strange phenomenon have been explored in a recent study that sought to gather more data about pulsars.
A team of researchers has developed a new meta-model based on the idea that while the pulsar spins, stress will accumulate on the inside of the object until a critical limit is reached. When the stress level becomes too high, some of it will be released with the help of the glitches.
A new study on pulsars
There is also a fascinating detail as the scientists believe that the stress level can be boosted by chaotic movement, similar to the way in which a human could take a step forward, three steps back, and then more steps ahead.
Meta-models can be employed by researchers to make a long-term prediction about what will happen pulsars. It is believed that there is always a link between significant glitches and the period until the next glitch will take place. If a substantial amount of stress is released during a major glitch, the amount of time until the next glitch is considerably longer.
Some of the long-term observations of pulsars cannot be explained as the meta-model does not match some of the events which have been recorded. More glitches have to be observed before the efficiency of the model can be confirmed, but initial results seem to be promising. The study on pulsars was published in a scientific journal.