DAVID A. HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID A. HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Crab nebula pulsar. Artwork showing the rotating beam of energy coming from the Crab nebula (M1) pulsar. This pulsar is the remains of a star which blew up in a supernova in 1054 AD. Pulsars are rapidly rotating neutron stars which cast out narrow beams of energy as they rotate. To an observer on Earth (bottom right), any pulsar whose beam chances to cross Earth will appear as a lighthouse, with regular pulses of energy sweeping across Earth. Their rotation is extremely fast, ranging from hundredths of seconds to a few seconds. The pulse is visible in all forms of radiation from radio to X-ray wavelengths.
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