PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
PSR J0437-4715 pulsar, X-ray image. This pulsar (lower centre), at a distance of only 450 light years, is one of the closest pulsars to Earth. Also seen here, at upper left, is the active galactic nucleus (AGN) RX J0437-4711. The pulsar is a neutron star, the collapsed core of a massive star. It is spinning extremely rapidly, rotating nearly 200 times a second, beaming out high-energy radiation such as X-rays and gamma rays. These beams are detected as pulses as the pulsar sweeps across the line-of-sight from Earth. This pulsar was discovered in 1993.
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