Three citizen scientists discover new radio pulsar

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Washington, Aug 13 (ANI): Three citizen scientists-an American couple and a German-have discovered a new radio pulsar hidden in data gathered by the Arecibo Observatory.

This is the first deep-space discovery by Einstein@Home, which uses donated time from the home and office computers of 250,000 volunteers from 192 different countries.

This is the first genuine astronomical discovery by a public volunteer distributed computing project.

The new pulsar-called PSR J2007+2722--is a neutron star that rotates 41 times per second.

It is in the Milky Way, approximately 17,000 light years from Earth in the constellation Vulpecula.

Unlike most pulsars that spin as quickly and steadily, PSR J2007+2722 sits alone in space, and has no orbiting companion star.

Astronomers consider it especially interesting since it is likely a recycled pulsar that lost its companion.

However they cannot rule out that it may be a young pulsar born with a lower-than-usual magnetic field.

Chris and Helen Colvin, of Ames, Iowa, and Daniel Gebhardt, of Universität Mainz, Musikinformatik, Germany, are credited with this discovery.

Their computers, along with half a million others from around the world, are harnessed to analyze data for Einstein@Home (volunteers contribute about two computers each).

"This is a thrilling moment for Einstein@Home and our volunteers. It proves that public participation can discover new things in our universe. I hope it inspires more people to join us to help find other secrets hidden in the data," said Bruce Allen, leader of the Einstein@Home project, Max Planck Institute director and adjunct professor of physics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The study details the pulsar and announces the first genuine astronomical discovery by a public volunteer distributed computing project.

The discovery and the process of getting there are revealed in a paper published in the latest edition of Science Express. (ANI)

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