The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), located near Sutherland in South Africa's Karoo region has helped astronomers to discover the first white dwarfpulsar.
SALT is said to be the largest optical telescope in the Southern hemisphere, equal the size of a largest telescope in the world.
According to Professor Ted Williams, Director at SALT, a pulsar is a type of neutron star, which is an extremely massive star that exploded at the end of its life time.
Listen to the full conversation below:
This object which was recently discovered, it’s not due to a neutron star but a different kind of object called white dwarf, and it is considerably bigger but still enormously compact object.— Professor Ted Williams, Director at SALT
This is the first such object known that exhibited pulsar behaviour— Professor Ted Williams, Director at SALT
Professor Williams says this unexpected discovery shows that there are some gaps in the astronomical knowledge that they still need to look at and distinguish about these objects.
It illustrates the gap more than filling it in, there is going to be more work to be done to really understand this object and search for other ones just like it to see how common or rare it is.— Professor Ted Williams, Director at SALT