Weird Star Slows Down Before 'Glitching,' and No One Knows Why
Space.com - Tue 13 Aug 12:34 GMT

The spinning star slows down right before it speeds up.

  Vela is a famous among so-called "glitch hunters," or astronomers who search the skies for stars that rotate regularly but suddenly speed up.

  "Immediately before the glitch, we noticed that the star seems to slow down its rotation rate before spinning back up," Greg Ashton, a researcher at the Monash University School of Physics and Astronomy and one of the authors of the study, said in the statement.

  For this recent study, the astronomers reanalysed observations of the Vela glitch made in 2016; the scientists observed how the neutron star slows down right before the glitch and then speeds back up afterward.

  The findings suggested that this "slowdown" is the reason behind the glitch, as it creates a lag within the star's internal components, the study said.

  Those internal components include a "soup of superfluid neutrons in the inner layer of the crust [that] moves outwards first and hits the rigid crust of the star causing it to spin up," Paul Lasky, a researcher at the Monash University School of Physics and Astronomy and a co-author of the study, said in the statement.

  Previous studies have predicted this process by which rotating stars speed up and slow down, but this study marks the first real-time observations of that slowdown prior to a glitch.

  The team from the recent study said their observation could lead to new theories explaining neutron stars and their glitches.