Astronomy:Vela Pulsar

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Short description: Multi-spectrum pulsar in the constellation Vela
Vela Pulsar
Vela Pulsar jet.jpg
The Vela Pulsar and its surrounding pulsar wind nebula
Observation data
Equinox J2000.0]] (ICRS)
Constellation Vela
Right ascension  08h 35m 20.65525s[1]
Declination −45° 10′ 35.1545″[1]
Apparent magnitude (V) 23.6
[2] pc)
Other designations
HU Vel, PSR J0835-4510, PSR B0833-45, 4U 0833-45, 2CG 263-02, 2E 0833.6-4500, 3EG J0834-4511, H 0833-450, INTEGRAL1 5, SNR G263.6-02.8
Database references

The Vela Pulsar (PSR J0835-4510 or PSR B0833-45) is a radio, optical, X-ray- and gamma-emitting pulsar associated with the Vela Supernova Remnant in the constellation of Vela. Its parent Type II supernova exploded approximately 11,000–12,300 years ago (and was about 800 light-years away).


Vela is the brightest pulsar (at radio frequencies) in the sky and spins 11 times per second[3] (i.e. a period of 89.33 milliseconds—the shortest known at the time of its discovery) and the remnant from the supernova explosion is estimated to be travelling outwards at 1,200 km/s (750 mi/s).[4] It has the third-brightest optical component of all known pulsars (V = 23.6 mag)[5] which pulses twice for every single radio pulse. The Vela pulsar is the brightest persistent object in the high-energy gamma-ray sky.

Pulsed emission up to 20 TeV has been detected from the Vela pulsar and together with the Crab pulsar at 1.5 TeV[6] are the only two known pulsar with emission in this energy range[7]


Glitches are sudden spin-ups in the rotation of pulsars. Vela is the best known of all the glitching pulsars, with glitches occurring on average every three years. Glitches are currently not predictable.[8]

On 12 December 2016, Vela was observed to glitch live for the first time with a radio telescope (the 26 m telescope at the Mount Pleasant Radio Observatory) large enough to see individual pulses. This observation showed that the pulsar nulled (i.e. did not pulse) for one pulse, with the pulse prior being very broad and the two following pulses featuring low linear polarization.[9] It also appeared that the glitch process took under five seconds to occur and allowed to estimate physical properties of the pulsar.[10][11][8]

On 22 July 2021, a new glitch occurred. As a result, the period of the pulsar decreased by about 1 part in a million.[12]

Statistically, nearly the 1% of the long-term spin-down of the pulsar is reversed in spin-up glitches, a fraction that is also observed in other monitored pulsars.[13][8] Careful estimation of the glitch activity and its uncertainty requires statistical tools beyond the simple linear regression.[14]

Research campaigns

The association of the Vela pulsar with the Vela Supernova Remnant, made by astronomers at the University of Sydney in 1968,[15] was direct observational proof that supernovae form neutron stars.

Studies conducted by Kellogg et al. with the Uhuru spacecraft in 1970–71 showed the Vela pulsar and Vela X to be separate but spatially related objects. The term Vela X was used to describe the entirety of the supernova remnant.[16] Weiler and Panagia established in 1980 that Vela X was actually a pulsar wind nebula, contained within the fainter supernova remnant and driven by energy released by the pulsar.[17]


The pulsar is occasionally referred to as Vela X, but this phenomenon is separate from either the pulsar or the Vela X nebula. A radio survey of the Vela-Puppis region was made with the Mills Cross Telescope in 1956–57 and identified three strong radio sources: Vela X, Vela Y, and Vela Z. These sources are observationally close to the Puppis A supernova remnant, which is also a strong X-ray and radio source.[18]

Neither the pulsar nor either of the associated nebulae should be confused with Vela X-1, an observationally close but unrelated high-mass X-ray binary system.

In music

The emissions of Vela and the pulsar PSR B0329+54 were converted into audible sound by French composer Gérard Grisey and used in the piece Le noir de l'étoile (1989–90).[19][20][21]



  1. 1.0 1.1 "NAME Vela Pulsar". SIMBAD. Centre de données astronomiques de Strasbourg. 
  2. Caraveo, P. A.; De Luca, A.; Mignani, R. P.; Bignami, G. F. (November 2001). "The Distance to the Vela Pulsar Gauged with Hubble Space Telescope Parallax Observations". Astrophys. J. 561 (2): 930–937. doi:10.1086/323377. Bibcode2001ApJ...561..930C. 
  3. Manchester, R. N.; Hobbs, G. B.; Teoh, A.; Hobbs, M. (August 2005). "ATNF Pulsar Catalogue: J0835-4510". VizieR On-line Data Catalog. Bibcode2005yCat.7245....0M. 
  4. Lyne, Andrew G.; Graham-Smith, Francis (1998). Pulsar Astronomy (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-59413-8. 
  5. Mignani, R. P.; Zharikov, R. P.; Caraveo, P. A. (October 2007). "The Optical Spectrum of the Vela Pulsar". Astronomy and Astrophysics 473 (3): 891–896. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20077774. Bibcode2007A&A...473..891M. 
  6. The H.E.S.S. Collaboration et al. (2023-10-05). "Discovery of a radiation component from the Vela pulsar reaching 20 teraelectronvolts" (in en). Nature Astronomy. doi:10.1038/s41550-023-02052-3. ISSN 2397-3366. 
  7. The H.E.S.S. Collaboration; Aharonian, F.; Benkhali, F. Ait; Aschersleben, J.; Ashkar, H.; Backes, M.; Martins, V. Barbosa; Batzofin, R. et al. (2023-10-05). "Discovery of a radiation component from the Vela pulsar reaching 20 teraelectronvolts" (in en). Nature Astronomy. doi:10.1038/s41550-023-02052-3. ISSN 2397-3366. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Antonelli, Marco; Montoli, Alessandro; Pizzochero, Pierre (November 2022), Insights into the physics of neutron star interiors from pulsar glitches, pp. 219–281,, retrieved 2023-09-25 
  9. Palfreyman, J.; Dickey, J. M.; Hotan, A.; Ellingsen, S.; van Straten, W. (April 2018). "Alteration of the magnetosphere of the Vela pulsar during a glitch". Nature 556 (7700): 219–222. doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0001-x. PMID 29643483. Bibcode2018Natur.556..219P. 
  10. Ashton, G.. "Rotational evolution of the Vela pulsar during the 2016 glitch". 
  11. Montoli, Alessandro; Antonelli, Marco; Magistrelli, Fabio; Pizzochero, Pierre (October 2020). "Bayesian estimate of the superfluid moments of inertia from the 2016 glitch in the Vela pulsar". Astronomy & Astrophysics 642: A223. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/202038340. ISSN 0004-6361. 
  12. "A new Glitch in the Vela Pulsar (PSR B0833-45/PSR J0835-4510)". The Astronomer's Telegram. 23 July 2021. 
  13. McKenna, J.; Lyne, A. G. (January 1990). "PSR1737–30 and period discontinuities in young pulsars" (in en). Nature 343 (6256): 349–350. doi:10.1038/343349a0. ISSN 1476-4687. 
  14. Montoli, Alessandro; Antonelli, Marco; Haskell, Brynmor; Pizzochero, Pierre (2021-01-05). "Statistical estimates of the pulsar glitch activity". Universe 7 (1): 8. doi:10.3390/universe7010008. ISSN 2218-1997. 
  15. Large, M. I.; Vaughan, A. E.; Mills, B. Y. (October 1968). "A Pulsar Supernova Association?". Nature 20 (5165): 340–341. doi:10.1038/220340a0. Bibcode1968Natur.220..340L. 
  16. Kellogg, E.; Tananbaum, H.; Harnden, F. R. Jr.; Gursky, H.; Giacconi, R.; Grindlay, J. (August 1973). "The X-ray Structure of the Vela X Region Observed from Uhuru". The Astrophysical Journal 183: 935–940. doi:10.1086/152279. Bibcode1973ApJ...183..935K. 
  17. Weiler, K. W.; Panagia, N. (October 1980). "Vela X and the Evolution of Plerions". Astronomy and Astrophysics 90 (3): 269–282. Bibcode1980A&A....90..269W. 
  18. Rishbeth, H. (December 1958). "Radio Emission from the Vela-Puppis Region". Australian Journal of Physics 11 (4): 550–563. doi:10.1071/PH580550. Bibcode1958AuJPh..11..550R. 
  19. Del Re, Giuseppe (2000). The Cosmic Dance: Science Discovers the Mysterious Harmony of the Universe. Philadelphia: Templeton Foundation. pp. 24–25. ISBN 978-1-890151-25-6. 
  20. Luminet, Jean-Pierre (2011) (in fr). Illuminations: Cosmos et esthétique. Paris: Odile Jacob. pp. 419–420. ISBN 978-2-7381-2562-0. 
  21. Template:IRCAM work

External links

Coordinates: Sky map 08h 35m 20.65525s, −45° 10′ 35.1545″