What are Pulsars?

Neutron Stars

PulsarWhat is a pulsar? Have you heard of a pulsar before? When we look out to the sky from the Earth, pulsars are flickering stars. If you find one of them on the sky, you will see them blinking frequently at a consistent rhythm. What are them? Are they stars? They are not stars. Then what they are? They were stars long ago but died through supernova. Pulsars are from the family of compact objects called neutron stars. When a super-giant star runs out of fuel, it explodes into supernova. The leftover of materials after a supernova makes neutron stars.

Now coming to pulsars… they are neutron stars which are highly magnetic. Comparing to that of our Earth’s magnetic field, pulsar’s magnetic field is 100 million to 1 quadrillion times stronger. If a neutron star has to emerge as a pulsar, it requires a perfect combination of magnetic field and spinning frequency.

The slowest pulsars known to humans spin at a rate of one rotation per second. However, some of the fastest pulsars are capable enough to spin at hundreds of rotations per second rate. Pulsars radiate the most energetic form of light known to us. They can radiate light in multiple wavelengths. Though the radiation of light is not yet clear to the scientists, it is believed that the radiations are due to different factors. Magnetic field and spinning frequency are the major factors identified.

For finding pulsars in the sky, scientists used radio telescopes. Still radio is considered the most popular and the major mean in discovering these objects.

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