NASA / GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER / CRUZ DEWILDE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER / CRUZ DEWILDE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Black Widow Pulsar, illustration. This pulsar, a rapidly rotating neutron star, was discovered in 1988, in orbit around a brown dwarf (centre right). Beams of radiation (magenta) are emitted along the magnetic axis of the pulsar. The name black widow is applied because its brown dwarf companion is being destroyed by it. Brown dwarves are objects which form as stars do, but which do not attain the core temperatures necessary to fuse hydrogen into helium, as in true stars. Astronomers have detected a bow-shock around the brown dwarf, created as radiation from the pulsar wraps itself around the brown dwarf.
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