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Jupiter-mass diamond found orbiting pulsar

How did the pulsar acquire its exotic companion? And how do we know it's made of diamond?

Pulsar J1719-1438 is a very fast-spinning pulsar-what's called a millisecond pulsar. Amazingly, it rotates more than 10,000 times per minute, has a mass of about 1.4 times that of our Sun but is only 20 km in radius. About 70% of millisecond pulsars have companions of some kind: astronomers think it is the companion that, as a star, transforms an old, dead pulsar into a millisecond pulsar by transferring matter and spinning it up to a very high speed. The result is a fast-spinning millisecond pulsar with a shrunken companion-most often a white dwarf.

"We know of a few other systems, called ultra-compact low-mass X-ray binaries, that are likely to be evolving according to the scenario above and may likely represent the progenitors of a pulsar like J1719-1438" said Dr. Andrea Possenti, of INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari.

But pulsar J1719-1438 and its companion are so close together that the companion could only be a very stripped-down white dwarf, one that has lost its outer layers and over 99.9% of its original mass. This remnant is likely to be largely carbon and oxygen, stars of lighter elements like hydrogen and helium just won't fit. The density means that this material is certain to be crystalline: that is, a large part of the star may be similar to a diamond.

"The ultimate fate of the binary is determined by the mass and orbital period of the donor star at the time of mass transfer. The rarity of millisecond pulsars with planet-mass companions means that producing such 'exotic planets' is the exception rather than the rule, and requires special circumstances", said Dr. Benjamin Stappers from the University of Manchester.

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"What could go wrong?"

Sushi Popper

"A portable tube with fresh pre-sliced sushi that is pushed up from bottom and eaten from top."


DNA Lounge: Wherein there's some press and some photos.

Photos are up of last night's SFIEC hair show. There were some epic constructions, as usual!

There's also a gallery of the Bootie Eighth Anniversary, about which there is also a nice article in the Amoeba Records blog:

Now Entering Ninth Year of Their Successful Mashup Party, Bootie SF's Tireless Duo of A+D Show No Signs Of Slowing Down

Instead they went above and beyond the typical duties of a club promoter by putting on a huge production; one that included the SOMA club filled with festive streamers & NYE style balloons ready to drop, a full concert by their spinoff live mash up band Smash Up Derby (a bad ass six piece rocking band featuring Adrian on lead vocals) whose mixed media set included an informative history of the mashup projected onto a large screen, and they passed out 600 complimentary mashup compilation CDs that they pressed up especially for this party. They also gave away special prizes of their Bootie brand headphones.

And our bar manager Chris is opening a cafe in Oakland! Here's a write-up about it in the East Bay Express:

Rolling Soon Into Temescal: Arbor, a Bicycle Cafe

Looks like the Temescal cafe formerly known as SadieDey's is ready for its next chapter. WTF ducked into the space at 4210 Telegraph today to find new owner Christopher Marquez working on its transformation into Arbor, a bicycle-friendly cafe not unlike Actual, Sal Bednarz's bike refuge from San Pablo Avenue's car cluster. Marquez is a first-time business owner who plans to keep his regular gig as bar manager of San Francisco's DNA Lounge.

But Marquez lives in Oakland, and says he wants Arbor to be a family-friendly hangout, even after he gets the beer and wine license he's applied for.

Ah, the wide wonderful world of liquor licensing. Welcome to hell.


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