Pulsar, artwork

Pulsar, artwork

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Credit: MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Pulsar. Diagram showing emission mechanisms from a pulsar. Pulsars are rapidly rotating neutron stars that cast out narrow beams of energy (blue) as they rotate. The beams are confined by extremely strong magnetic fields (orange) that emanate from the star. The spin axis of the star is shown by the vertical line down centre. The image shows competing gamma-ray (white wavy arrows) generation mechanisms: the polar cap model and the slot-gap/outer-gap models. The polar cap model predicts that the gamma rays are emitted from the neutron star's surface close to the polar caps. The slot-gap/outer-gap models predict that the gamma rays are produced far above the star by particles that are accelerated along the arcs of the magnetic field.

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Keywords: artwork, astronomical, astronomy, astrophysical, astrophysics, beam, beams, diagram, emission, emitting, energy, gamma ray, illustration, magnetic field, models, neutron star, outer gap, outer-gap, polar cap model, pulsar, rays, rotating, slot gap, slot-gap, space, spin axis, spinning, star, stellar, theoretical physics, theories, theory

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