Spinning neutron stars—pulsars—often emit jets of material along their rotation axes. The jets of the Vela pulsar, however, are extraordinary. A decade ago, a series of Chandra X-Ray Observatory images suggested that the Vela jet had a dynamically changing shape. But the images were erratically spaced in time and not of sufficient quality to give a reliable picture of jet evolution. Now a new Chandra team led by George Pavlov (Pennsylvania State University) and Oleg Kargaltsev (George Washington University) has collected additional images such as the one shown here—enough images to create a video of an evolving, twisting jet. Moreover, the team reports that the details of the jet morphology are well described by a simple model that assumes the Vela pulsar is precessing with a period of 120 days and that the jet particles are ballistically emitted along the changing rotation axis. Although suggestions of precessing pulsars exist...

You do not currently have access to this content.