Friday, February 21, 2014

Faster than a speeding bullet!

Fast flying pulsar
image Chandra X-ray Observatory, APOD

Another highly educational image and text from Astronomy Picture of the Day! See the glorious picture in full size and read the associated text here.

The fast rotating neutron star was born in the explosion of the supernova up left in the picture. The "bullet" has created the Lighthouse Nebula tail pointing towards the supernova "gun" and also the peculiar 37 light years long particle jet to the right from it.

The pulsar has an estimated speed of 1000 kilometers per second 1000 km/s.

As fast as a flying bullet?
.221 Fireball cartridge
image wikimedia

According to David E. Petzal (1992) speeds of bullets vary

.22 rimfire cartridge1200–1500 fps
.22 centerfire cartridge2400–3000 fps
.22 Swift4000 fps
.38 Special600 fps
.221 Fireball2650 fps

The speeds of these bullets range from 180 to 1220 meters per second 1220 m/s.

Accordingly, the pulsar IGR J1104-6103 is flying through the space about thousand times faster than a bullet shot from a pistol using a Remington .221 caliber Fireball cartridge.