An unusual infrared emission from the neutron star RX J0806.4-4123 detected by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope could indicate new features never before seen: one possibility is that there is a disk of material surrounding the neutron star; another is that there is an energetic wind coming off RX J0806.4-4123 and slamming into gas in interstellar space the neutron star is plowing through.

“RX J0806.4-4123 belongs to a group of seven nearby X-ray pulsars (the Magnificent Seven) that are hotter than they ought to be considering their ages and available energy reservoir provided by the loss of rotation energy,” said Dr. Bettina Posselt, a researcher in the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at Pennsylvania State University.

“We observed an extended area of infrared emissions around RX J0806.4-4123, the total size of which translates into about 200 AU (astronomical units) at the assumed distance of the pulsar.”

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