Imagine the Universe!

The video illustrates our current understanding of an object called the bursting pulsar, first discovered in December, 1995. Observations show the bursting pulsar to consist of a neutron star spinning with a rotation period of 0.467 seconds. This rotation is indicated in the video by light pulsing from the neutron star about twice a second. In addition, bright outbursts of X-rays and gamma rays occur approximately once every hour. Lastly, the pulsar orbits around another star with a period of 11.8 days. Observations indicate that the pulsar has a strong magnetic field. This magnetic field funnels material the magnetic poles, resulting in radiation pulses at 0.467 second intervals.

Video shows a neutron star spinning and pulsing with a bright flash at 0.467 second intervals. Also shown are the magnetic field lines from the poles. In the background the second star is shown.

Imagine the Universe is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Imagine Team
Acting Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2012.

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