13
Sep
2018

We’ve found a pulsar spinning so slowly that it shouldn’t exist

Pulsar

Pulsars emit beams that rotate like lighthouses

NASA

By Leah Crane

A distant pulsar is taking it slow – so slow that it shouldn’t exist. Radio pulsars are rapidly-spinning neutron stars that emit a beam of powerful radio waves, and we’ve just found one rotating so slowly that its beam should have been snuffed out.

Chia Min Tan at the University of Manchester, UK and her colleagues found this sluggish star using the Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR), a set of radio telescopes based mostly in the Netherlands.

This pulsar, called PSR J0250+5854, takes 23.5 seconds to complete a rotation. That …

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