Astronomers measure the heartbeat of spinning stars

An international team of scientist have used the MeerKAT radio telescope to observe the pulsing heartbeat of the universe as neutron stars are born and form swirling lightning storms which last for millions of years.

Researchers inspect a nearby pulsar wind nebula

Using the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), astronomers from Hong Kong and Australia have performed radio observations of a nearby pulsar wind nebula (PWN) powered by the pulsar PSR B1706−44. Results of the study, ...

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Pulsars are highly magnetized, rotating neutron stars that emit a beam of electromagnetic radiation. The observed periods of their pulses range from 1.4 milliseconds to 8.5 seconds. The radiation can only be observed when the beam of emission is pointing towards the Earth. This is called the lighthouse effect and gives rise to the pulsed nature that gives pulsars their name. Because neutron stars are very dense objects, the rotation period and thus the interval between observed pulses are very regular. For some pulsars, the regularity of pulsation is as precise as an atomic clock. Pulsars are known to have planets orbiting them, as in the case of PSR B1257+12. Werner Becker of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics said in 2006, "The theory of how pulsars emit their radiation is still in its infancy, even after nearly forty years of work."

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