In a galaxy far far away, a used-to-be a star and a never-been one became a couple. In astronomical terms, a pulsar orbits a white dwarf. And this is something out of the ordinary, for what is known about the Universe, so far.
A little bit of history
The name of a pulsar is a joint between the words pulsating and quasar. A quasar is a massive and extremely remote celestial object, emitting substantial amounts of energy, that looks like a star.
That means that a pulsar is a pulsating star. But it isn’t a star, but it’s the remains of a former star that exploded into a supernova. These remains emit beams of electromagnetic radiation out of its magnetic poles. The radiation can be observed only when a beam of emission is pointing toward Earth. This intermittent appearance of discharge looks like a pulse.
A white dwarf is also a remnant, but from the core of a celestial body that never made it become a star. It failed in the last step of the process, because of the lack of mass needed to become a neutron star. It also called a degenerate dwarf, so considering it, a freak isn’t judgemental. It is what it is.
The breaking news
It seems that the pulsar is orbiting the white dwarf hysterically fast, dragging spacetime around it. The phenomenon is scientifically called frame dragging. Sound like a mental disorder. It is due to non-static stationary distributions of mass-energy.
A stationary field is one that is in a steady-state, but the masses causing that field may be non-static. Rotating hysterically, for instance, can make the field lose its stability. It seems safe to call frame dragging a space disorder.
The pulsar’s lurching around its axis gives scientists hope of a better understanding of pulsar’s becoming and behavior. They also hope they will get the chance to understand how the two freaks got together in the first place. We’ll see!