Introduction & Overview
The Secret of the Pulsars:
Discovery of the Dark Matter in the Milky Way Galaxy
What Causes Stars to Explode / Dark Matter / Binary Stars
(Please see the links in the Pages section (below the Recent Posts section) on the right hand side of this page for direct reference to the detailed sections of the theory presented on this site.)
For readers already familiar with pulsars and x-ray binaries, the proof of the main contention of this site, which describes the Neutron Star Capture theory (which is “the secret of the pulsars”) and its implications, has been summarized in the following two pages:
- Explanation and proof of the NS-Capture Theory and its implication that there are on the order of 5 trillion neutron stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. https://secretofthepulsars.com/diagrammatic-proof-of-ns-capture-introduction/
- Calculations of the 5 trillion neutron stars that the theory predicts that are necessary to explain the observations of pulsars. https://secretofthepulsars.com/calculation-of-number-of-neutron-stars-in-galaxy/
All the other pages, including this home page are derived from the 2 pages linked above.
It is intended that the reader of the material on this site should be able to understand the theory and the calculations with some knowledge of physics, astronomy, and mathematics that one normally obtains by their sophomore year in college. However, people new to these concepts may want to review the rest of this home page and some of the associated links from the home page in order to understand the problems that the 2 links above are trying to solve.
The analysis of pulsars described on this web site will prove beyond any reasonable doubt that:
The dark matter in the Milky Way Galaxy consists of: a huge number of nearly-invisible dark neutron stars.
These dark neutron stars, that are not visible using conventional observation techniques, are interspersed with the visible stars that are normally observed by eye or with telescopes.
Note: Click on this link for brief description of all content pages on this web site.
It is the discovery of this huge number of neutron stars that is:
“The Secret of the Pulsars”.
The predicted number of these neutron stars is so large, in fact, that there likely to be as many as 20 times as many dark neutron stars as there are regular visible stars in the galaxy. That means that if we consider a sphere centered at the Sun with a radius drawn with a length determined by the distance to the closest star, about 4 light years, that the following is true:
- Within the 4 light year radius sphere around the Sun, there must exist somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 neutron stars scattered randomly within that sphere.
- It is possible that with current observing satellites, such as Chandra, that we already can see some of these nearby neutron stars, but that they are currently interpreted to be something else.
- This new theory, called the Neutron Star Capture Theory, or NS-Capture Theory, can quickly be verified as soon as the characteristics of nearby neutron stars are better understood in terms of how they interact with interstellar matter. i.e. it is already known that each neutron star inherently has both:
- an enormously powerful magnetic field emanating from its poles (similar to Earth’s magnetic field, but many times as strong), and
- an enormously powerful gravitational field from its mass, which is approximately 1.4 times that of the Sun.
- Therefore, when interstellar matter, such as hydrogen, interacts with the neutron star’s magnetic and gravitational field it will emit radiation as it is accelerated toward the neutron star’s core sphere, which is about 10 miles in diameter.
In summary, we will be able to see this dark matter (comprised of neutron stars) as a result of its interaction with any matter that happens come near any neutron star. The most extreme example of a neutron star’s interaction with currently known galactic matter is when it collides with a random normal star in the galaxy and becomes bound to that normal star in a binary system. The neutron star then causes huge disruptions to the atmosphere of the normal star, which eventually causes it to blow up in a supernova explosion, leaving a spun-up neutron star pulsar behind.
What Causes Stars to Explode?
What Causes Supernova Explosions?
There is, currently, a commonly accepted explanation of supernova explosions (SNE’s) that has been in existence practically since the day in 1968, when a pulsar, that was named the Crab Pulsar, was discovered in the center of the Crab Nebula (a bright cloud of interstellar material, that is several light years in diameter), which is the remnant of the supernova explosion observed by Chinese astronomers in 1054 AD. On this website, we will refer to this explanation as the Neutron Star Creation Theory, because that theory says that the way the pulsar was created was a result of the supernova explosion of which now it is still in the center of the remnant nebula. i.e. the NS-Creation theory says that when a giant star ages and begins to cool down, the material in its atmosphere will condense into an increasingly smaller sphere until such point as the gravitational pull of the dense material becomes so strong that the atomic material spontaneously has its electrons fused with its protons to become simply a mass of neutrons in a 10 mile diameter sphere of pure neutrons, which is a neutron star. This implosion of material is balanced by a corresponding explosion, which is the observed supernova.
One reason why the NS-Creation theory quickly gained acceptance was that such an occurrence was theoretically predicted in the 1934 by Baade and Zwicky who proposed that a normal star could transform into a neutron star via a supernova explosion. As a result, the discovery of the Crab Pulsar at the center of the Crab Nebula supernova remnant appeared to be strong confirmation of the prediction.
However, it turns out that the NS-Creation theory of pulsar creation by supernova explosion is not consistent with the overall data that has accumulated on pulsars. (We refer to this explanation as: NS-Creation, because it results in the creation of a brand new neutron star.)
NS-Creation claims that a normal star evolves and under certain conditions experiences a gravitational collapse producing both the supernova explosion AND a corresponding collapse/ implosion that results in the creation of a neutron star pulsar. This theory has existed since the first discovery, in 1968, of the pulsar at the center of the remains of the Crab Nebula, which exploded in 1054 AD and which is still visible today: both the remnants and the neutron star/pulsar.
Many more pulsars (more than 2500) have been discovered since the Crab, and many of the properties of those pulsars are simply inconsistent with the NS-Creation theory. However, the original theory has remained intact, despite the mounting inconsistencies. The purpose of this website is to expose these inconsistencies and to present a new alternative theory which is totally consistent with all 2500+ pulsars, including the Crab Pulsar. The new theory is called the “Neutron Star Capture Theory” (NS-Capture) and it basically says that pulsars and supernova explosions are both created by the same mechanism: a relatively long-term process that begins with a binding collision between a pre-existing neutron star that has entered the vicinity of a regular star (RS), called the “companion star“, where the collision resulted in a binary star system being created: the neutron star plus the companion star in orbit around each other.
At first, right after the initial collision, the orbit is very elliptical, with high eccentricity, but during each orbit, at the point of closest approach, there occurs another collision between the neutron star and its companion, which causes the orbit to become slightly less eccentric. After many of these collisions, the orbit becomes nearly exactly circular and the neutron star is orbiting right inside the atmosphere of the companion star, which may be regarded as a state of constant collision.
When the neutron star first collides with the companion, its magnetic field causes it to “snag” on the material in the companion’s atmosphere, and the neutron star starts to twist and spin until its magnetic field becomes nearly perpendicular to the neutron star’s spin axis: i.e. the poles of the neutron star’s magnetic field are whipping around near the equatorial plane of the rotating neutron star. This snag causes energy to be exchanged between the NS and the companion, such that orbital energy is lost from the neutron star orbit and replaced by turbulence energy within the companion.
For a close first collision, this energy exchange is such that the neutron star no longer has enough orbital energy to escape the companion and remains bound in an elliptical orbit. The neutron star is constantly being caused to spin faster and faster by the interaction with the companion’s atmosphere. The neutron star eventually is submerged within the atmosphere and is only visible when some of the atmosphere gets blown away leaving the spinning neutron star exposed to observers at different light wavelengths. For example, see Her X-1.
However, ultimately, in many cases the companion star becomes gravitationally unstable, because of the unrelenting heating caused by the pulsar, and “explodes” in a supernova with the remnants being driven away by the electromagnetic winds of the spinning neutron star’s magnetic field, which is now becomes observable as a pulsar.
This capture, spin-up, heat-up process is the “secret of the pulsars”, and not only does it explain all pulsars and supernova explosions, but it also reveals for the first time the existence of the dark matter that has been theorized to exist within the Milky Way and all other galaxies. This dark matter is in the form of many neutron stars, far more numerous than ordinary stars, which provide the source of neutron stars necessary to create the above-described binding collisions, that create the conditions necessary for a neutron star to spin-up to become a pulsar. In fact, the neutron stars are so numerous, that there are probably approximately 20 neutron stars lying at distances from the Sun that are less than the distance to the known closest star, which is 4 light years away.
Possibly, the most interesting part of this theory is that it MUST be true, since, as we will see (Diagrammatic Proof) that there is no other explanation that can account for the existence of the pulsars, and the associated supernova explosions.
What is Dark Matter?
“Dark Matter” is mass in the galaxy (and the universe) that we cannot see. The reason we cannot see it is that it does not emit very much light. Imagine a big rock 100 billion miles away from Earth. Would we see it? No. The only way we can see something is if it emits radiation that we could detect here on Earth. If something is 1 trillion miles from Earth, it would have to emit as much radiation as a star like the Sun for us to see it. Imagine if there was a rock with as much mass as the Sun, a trillion miles away. We would not see it because it is not emitting any light.
If you bring a large rock inside at night and turn out the lights, you would not see it. But that does not mean it’s not there. Obviously, you can “feel” it, or pick it up if it’s not too big, but you can’t see it. Consider the Moon. The Moon is like a big rock in space, orbiting the Earth. Sometimes we can see it, other times we can’t. We can only see it when the Sun shines on it and we see the radiation reflecting off the Moon and arriving here on Earth. When the Moon is on the side of the Earth that is facing away from the Sun, we can see it, because the Sun is at our back and we can see the light reflecting off the Moon, because it reflects back here to Earth. However, when the Moon is between us and the Sun, we no longer can see it, because the light from the Sun that hits it is reflected away from us, and no sunlight is shining on the side of the Moon that is facing us.
How do we even know the Moon is still there when we can’t see it? We can’t touch the Moon, at least not without a rocket ship to take us there, but does that mean we can’t “feel” it? Actually, we can “feel” the Moon. We feel it through the tides in the oceans, which are pulled by the gravity of the Moon. Isaac Newton discovered the laws of gravity in the 1600’s, which showed how planets orbit the Sun in totally predictable ways. It also showed how moons orbit planets, as our Moon orbits the Earth. So, even if we could never “see” the Moon, we would still know it is there, because in order to explain the tides in the oceans, it must be there according to Newton’s Laws of Gravity.
Therefore, what’s the story about Dark Matter?
So it is, also, with Dark Matter. We “know” it’s there because the laws of gravity and the motion of the stars in the galaxy indicate that it must be there. In fact, many analyses of this motion have shown that the matter in the galaxy that we can see with our eyes only accounts for about 5% of the total matter needed to exist in the galaxy to hold it together in the manner that it is observed. Up until the present time (today is March 17, 2018), the world has not known what dark matter is. All we know is that it must be there. There have been many theories presented about dark matter, but none have been sufficiently convincing, nor “provable”, to explain what and where this dark matter is. However this web site, for the 1st time is telling the world:
- What the dark matter is.
- Where the dark matter is.
- How we can prove and have proven that it is there.
- How we can, and do, see it, at least a small amount of it.
(note: this is actually the 2nd time this has been made public, since I published a paper on this subject in 1993 )
(note: “Secret of the Pulsars” article begins on p5 of the pdf, p30 of the journal)
Ok, so what is this “dark matter”?
The dark matter consists of many neutron stars that are floating around in the galaxy. They do not emit very much light, except when they interact with matter in space, and when that happens the matter gets caught up in the neutron star’s magnetic field, and pulled to the neutron star in a spiral path. This acceleration causes the matter to emit x-rays. In general there is not much matter for the neutron stars to interact with in interstellar space, so although this radiation is emitted from the neutron star’s environment, there is not enough radiation for us to see the neutron star, of which there are many around us, but probably none closer than 5 trillion miles, about one light year. By comparison, the Sun is 93 million miles from Earth. Therefore the closest neutron star is probably about 50,000 times as far from us as the Sun (5 trillion/100 million = 50,000).
How do we know neutron stars are dark matter?
Well, normally, due to the relatively large distances they are away from us (1 light year or more), even though there are many there, we can’t see them. The only time we can “see” them is when they interact with something really big, like a star. When a neutron star interacts continuously in a close orbit around a star, it becomes a pulsar. We see it first as an x-ray source emitting as much as 100,000 times as much energy as the Sun and after many thousands of years, the star it is orbiting often blows up in a supernova explosion, which is when we really see one of these neutron stars that has become a pulsar.
What are binary star systems?
Binary star systems consist of two stars. The word “binary” means composed of two things, so a binary star system consists of two stars. When we refer to “a binary star”, we are generally referring to one of the members of a two star system. Binary star systems are gravitationally bound. The “solar system” is not a binary system, because it consists of many relatively small planets going around the Sun. However, the Earth-Moon system may be regarded as a binary system consisting of 2 members: the Earth and the Moon! Therefore, despite the fact that Earth-Moon system (where the Earth and Moon rotate in an orbit around each other), itself, orbits around the Sun, the relation between the Earth and the Moon is generally unaffected by the other bodies in the Solar System, and therefore the Earth-Moon may be regarded as a binary system.
Our solar system contains only one star: the Sun. However, binary star systems consist of 2 stars. So, when we look up in the sky at night, how many of the stars we see are members of binary systems? The exact percentage is unknown, but it is known that the percentage is fairly large, probably around 50%. In the Milky Way galaxy, there are roughly 200 billion stars. Therefore, probably at least 100 billion of those stars are members of a binary system. Binary star systems are recognized because their motion can be detected by careful measurement of the frequency of specific known wavelengths of the light they emit. When the star is moving toward us the light’s frequency appears faster and the light’s wavelength appears shorter. When the star is moving away from us, the light’s frequency appears slower and the light’s wavelength appears longer. This is analogous to listening to the sound of a siren on a police car when it is approaching us compared to the sound when the police car is moving away from us. If the faster/slower pattern repeats in a regular manner over time, then the star system may be regarded as a binary system. This has been well known for over 100 years about binary stars, and it is a very well-understood phenomenon that is used to classify star systems.
What is the Significance of Binary Stars with respect to Pulsars?
The significance of binary stars in the context of understanding pulsars includes the following:
- Binary star systems are well understood and have long term predictable behavior.
- The behavior of binary stars in terms of their motion with respect to each other is totally understood using Newton’s Laws of Physics with respect to motion of bodies under forces, conservation of energy, and conservation of angular momentum.
- The importance of binary stars to pulsars is that when a neutron star becomes gravitationally bound to a normal star, in an orbit that passes close to the atmosphere of the star, that provides the conditions for which a neutron star will become a pulsar. i.e. when a neutron star becomes bound to a normal star in a binary star orbit, the neutron star will eventually become a pulsar. Therefore, much knowledge of binary gravitational orbits is applicable to a neutron star/normal star pair.
- As the 2 members normal star/neutron star pair interact with each other, when the neutron star passes close to the normal star’s atmosphere, that interaction creates a tidal exchange of energy that is absorbed by the normal star and taken away from the neutron star’s orbit. (Ordinary binary systems consisting of 2 normal stars do not interact in this manner, and so their orbits remain stable over long periods of time.)
- The tidal exchange of energy in the neutron star normal star binary causes the neutron star’s orbit to rapidly circularize, such that it eventually becomes permanently embedded in the normal star’s atmosphere.
Note: the neutron star’s magnetic field also interacts with the normal star’s atmosphere, which causes further turbulence that transfers energy from the orbital motion into NS rotational energy and normal star heat energy from the disruption caused by the magnetic field, all of which tends to circularize the orbit and eventually cause the orbit to spiral toward the center of the normal star (Note: the normal star will often get destroyed in this process, which NS-Capture theory refers to as a supernova event (SNE).).
- As the normal star absorbs more and more energy from the closely orbiting neutron star, the normal star gets hotter and hotter until it explodes in a supernova explosion.
As a result of the above characteristics, we have a complete model of how a neutron star can become a pulsar by interacting with a normal star in a process that eventually causes the normal star to explode in a supernova explosion (SNE). It is extremely important to understand that this spin-up,heat-up mechanism is observed and the behavior is completely understood using the classical laws of physics.
A good introduction, if you have had some college physics on the mechanics of binary systems and how the Cen X-3 pulsar frequency varies during its orbit is in this series of 4 lectures delivered by Prof. Terry Matilsky, for which this link is the first lecture. The Cen X-3 binary pulsar is also one of the central actors in the reasoning in this web site, and so this background may be useful for those who want to understand these concepts in more depth.
The importance of the NS-Capture mechanism is that it obviates the need for any other mechanism to be invented to explain the presence of rapidly rotating neutron star pulsars in the midst of the remnants of a supernova explosion. The theory says that neutron star pulsar causes the supernova explosion. Therefore, there is no need to claim that the neutron star pulsar was created by the explosion as is commonly thought today.
One major purpose of this website is to overturn the theory of neutron star creation (NS-Creation) in supernova explosions and to analyze the implications of that result, which introduces the necessity of asserting the existence of the neutron star dark matter that permeates our Galaxy, and, in fact, represents probably 95% of the mass of the Milky Way Galaxy. We will also find that it is very possible that these neutron stars have already been observed, and may in some cases considered to be remote Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs), when, in fact, they are actually nearby neutron stars interacting with matter in interstellar space. This leads us to the main topic of this web site which begins now:
The Secret of the Pulsars
About this site: This site is intended for people who are interested in:
- Pulsars, esp. X-Ray Binaries (Crab, Cen X-3, Her X-1, etc.)
- Neutron Stars (how they become pulsars, where they come from)
- Supernova explosions (supernovae, evaporation, how stars are destroyed)
- Dark Matter (5 Trillion neutron stars in Milky Way Galaxy)
- X-ray and Radio Astronomy (framework for the “visible” universe)
- Millisecond Pulsars and Magnetars
- Super-giant stars with an embedded neutron star
The site describes a new theory that ties all the above items all together under a single paradigm (i.e. a single process that covers the life cycle of the above items). The “new” paradigm, the Neutron Star Capture Theory (NS-Capture), is proved based on one simple principle that can be empirically demonstrated:
“Pulsars in binary star systems do not and cannot slow down, except, in some cases, temporarily, due to transient environmental condition changes.”
The “old” paradigm, the Neutron Star Creation Theory (NS-Creation or NS-collapse theory) fails for the above reason. i.e. current theories all require the ability for a pulsar that is created in a binary system to slow down in a period of a million years or so. In all observed binary systems containing a pulsar, the pulsar is either speeding up, or slowing down at such a small rate that it would require billions of years or more to slow down to a rate where it would no longer be observable as a pulsar. Basically, a spin rate change that is seen in millisecond pulsar binary systems is indistinguishable from a stable spin rate.
Therefore, since the observed pulsars do not slow down they must have been introduced to the binary system as a very slow pulsar. Since the NS-Creation theory only creates fast-spinning pulsars, there must be another mechanism for a neutron star to be found in a binary system. Since a slow spinning pulsar, such as Cen X-3 (4.8 sec) is spinning up, and the spinup time to 4.8 sec would typically be less than 1 million years, then the alternative mechanism must have the following properties:
- The slow-spinning neutron star in a binary system must have been introduced to its current companion within the last 1 million years.
- The neutron star property of slow-spinning is inconsistent with the neutron star having been introduced by an earlier binary companion to the current companion exploding in a supernova and creating a fast-spinning pulsar. Because the fast-spinning pulsar can’t slow down to be a slow-spinning pulsar while it is a member of a binary system.
The only conclusion we can reach from the above properties is that the neutron star must have originally existed independent of its current companion, and been captured by that companion in a collision that occurred within the last 1 million years. That’s it, in a nutshell. Everything else on this site is dedicated to exploring the implications of this result, as well as showing that the result (no slowdown) is applicable to all systems.
The level of technical expertise required really is only a basic knowledge of Newtonian physics, such as conservation of energy and conservation of angular momentum. Some knowledge of quantum mechanics and special relativity may also be helpful, but what’s needed in those areas will be described and not assumed.
The theory is primarily a continuation of work done by the primary contributor to the site, Rich Levinson, who was a key contributor to the original discovery that X-ray pulsars are members of close binary systems, based on analysis of data from the Uhuru satellite in late 1971, and published in the ApJ Letters in early 1972. References to the above discovery can be found at: overview: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centaurus_X-3 and: Cen X-3 discovery as a binary pulsar paper: https://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1972ApJ…172L..79S.
It turns out that the complete theory, which is “The Secret of the Pulsars” is inherently contained in the results presented in the discovery paper. It is that theory ,and why it is inherently contained in that paper, which is the subject of this site. The results of the paper will be summarized in an easy to understand form in the theory page hierarchy of this site: Pulsars Explained So, if you are interested in:
- where pulsars come from,
- how a neutron star is turned into a pulsar, and
- what happens to the star that turns the neutron star into a pulsar,
then please begin at the beginning of the page hierarchy, in sidebar on the right hand side of this page. Also, in order to get an idea of the content on this site, one may type the following in the search box: “TheoryPage” (one word, no quotes), to get a list of the current main content pages, followed by the first few lines of the content of each page. In addition, comments and suggestions and contributions to this site, such as reviewing the materials from a knowledgeable perspective are welcome. Until the web site is fully operational, comments may be submitted to my email address below.
Thanks, Rich Levinson
(Note 1: This site is intended to be instructive. In addition, it is expected that there will be readers with a variety of backgrounds in science and astronomy. Therefore, the discussions by the author are intended to present the same information in a variety of ways, in order that readers who do not understand one manner of presentation of the material might be able to understand another representation. As a result, one may consider the presentations to be repetitive in nature, in the sense of “yet another way of saying the same thing”.
( Note 2: Discussion of the theory page hierarchy will be contained in the blog portion. Comments are welcome, and will be reviewed before publication to ensure that the discussions are kept on topic, as the internet is prone be disrupted by individuals who do not really have interest in the topics of discussion.)
(Note 3: any advertisements that appear on this site are beyond the control of the site’s author (me) at this time. At some future point maybe the ads will have some relationship to the site, however, at this time the author does not know how to control them.)