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Artwork of a planet orbiting pulsar 1257+12

Artwork of a planet orbiting pulsar 1257+12

R650/0103

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Credit

DALE DARBY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DALE DARBY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Pulsar planet. Artwork of a planet orbiting the pulsar PSR 1257+12 (lower centre). Two jets are seen emerging from the pulsar's poles. Three planets are thought to be orbiting this star. They were detected by noting variations in the flashes of radio waves from the pulsar. Pulsars are rapidly rotating neutron stars which emit radio waves in two narrow beams. They are only seen from Earth if one of these beams crosses Earth during its rotation. PSR 1257+12 is a millisecond pulsar, with one of the fastest rotation speeds known. Pulsars are formed in supernova explosions. As a supernova would destroy any planets around it, the planets must have formed since the supernova.

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Model release not required. Property release not required.

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