Courses for Kids
Free study material
Offline Centres
Store Icon


Last updated date: 04th Mar 2024
Total views: 311.4k
Views today: 6.11k
hightlight icon
highlight icon
highlight icon
share icon
copy icon

What does Pulsar Mean?

The word “Pulsar,” is a noun. It is a star that radiates a beam of electromagnetic radiation like radio waves periodically. This is how a pulsar looks like:

[Image will be Uploaded Soon]

It is a degenerate neutron star, a small (heavy in relation to its size) and very dense compact star that rotates rapidly and emits regular pulses of radiation.

A pulsar (from pulse and - ar as in “quasar”) is a highly magnetized compact star, assumed to be a rapidly rotating neutron star that emits regular pulses/beam of radio waves and other electromagnetic radiation, out of the magnetic poles at rates of up to 1000 pulses per seconds.

Pulsar Definition 

On this page, you will get sufficient information on the pulsar neutron star and pulsar astronomy.

Pulsar astronomy says that a pulsar is one of numerous hundred known celestial objects, presumed to be rapidly spinning neutron stars, that emit pulses of radiation, especially radio waves, with a high degree of regularity.

What is a Pulsar?

Pulsar Light

A pulsar (a lighthouse) may be a highly magnetized, rotating star that emits a beam of electromagnetic waves. We can observe the radiation only when the beam of emission is pointing toward the Earth, much the way a lighthouse can only be seen when the sunshine is pointed within the direction of an observer and is liable for the pulsed appearance of emission. 

Neutron stars are profoundly dense and have short turning periods. This creates a truly exact stretch between pulses that range from generally milliseconds to seconds for a private pulsar; these exact times of pulsars make them helpful instruments.

Perceptions of a pulsar during a paired star framework were wont to in a roundabout way affirm the presence of gravitational radiation. The essential extrasolar planets were found around a pulsar, PSR B1257 + 12. Such pulsars atomic clocks in their precision keep time.

Do you know what pulsars are? If not, let’s understand it in detail:

Pulsar Space

Do You Know What Pulsar Looks Like?

From Earth, pulsars often appear as if flickering stars. On and off, on and off, they appear to blink with a daily rhythm. But the sunshine from pulsars doesn't actually flicker or pulse, and these objects aren't actually stars. 

Pulsars radiate two steady, narrow beams of sunshine in opposite directions. Although the sunshine from the beam is steady, pulsars appear to flicker because they also spin. 

It is the rationale that a lighthouse seems to blink when observed by a sailor on the ocean: because the pulsar rotates, the beam of sunshine may sweep across the world , then swing off view, then swing back around again. 

Pulsar Astronomy

To an astronomer on the bottom, the sunshine goes in and out of view, giving the impression that the pulsar is blinking on and off. The rationale a pulsar's light beam spins around sort of a lighthouse beam is that the pulsar's beam of light is usually not aligned with the pulsar's axis of rotation.

[Image will be Uploaded Soon]

The above diagram of a pulsar shows the yellow cone of light, visible to the astronomers on Earth. 

Looking at the image above, you can see that the cone is not aligned with the spin axis, which is the reason that the beam sweeps across the sky instead of pointing in one direction. 

Astronomers detect pulsar stars by the radio pulses they emit periodically. 

What is a Pulsar Star?

The pulsars result in the supernova explosion and The formation of a pulsar is alike the creation of a neutron star. When a bigger star with four to eight times the mass of the Sun dies.

Now, Let’s See How This Phenomenon Occurs:

Pulsars are not really "living" stars. They belong to a family of objects called neutron stars that form when a star larger than the Sun runs out of fuel in its core and collapses in on itself; this stellar death results in a massive explosion called a supernova.


The outer layer blasts off into space, and the inner core contracts into its gravity. The gravitational pressure is so intense that it overcomes the bonds to keep atoms apart. The leftover of the explosive death is the dense nugget of material called the pulsar neutron star.

Pulsar Stars Vs Earth

Pulsars are highly magnetized neutron stars, while the Earth has a magnetic field that's just strong enough to exert a gentle pull on a compass needle. Pulsars have magnetic fields that range from 100 mn times to 1 quadrillion times stronger than Earth's.

Do You Know?

The "blinking" of a pulsar happens by its spinning, the speed of the pulses reveals the pace at which the pulsar spins. 

So far 2,000 pulsars are detected, most of these rotate in the order of once per second (these are often called "slow pulsars"), while 200 pulsars rotate many times per second (called "millisecond pulsars"). 

The interesting fact is, the fastest known millisecond pulsars can rotate quite 700 times per second.

Fun Facts

  • In 1967, an astrophysicist named Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Antony Hewish discovered the first pulsar. Its discovery surprised the scientific community by the periodic radio emissions it transmitted. 

They detected a peculiar radio emission emanating from a focal point in the sky that peaked every 1.33 s. It originated from an equivalent location within the sky and kept to cosmic time.

  • Neutron stars are approximately 12.4 to 14.9 miles, i.e., 20 to 24 km in diameter, but they can hold twice the mass of the sun, which is about 864,938 miles or 1.392 million km in diameter.

  • When a pulsar forms, it contains the highest energy and fastest rotational speed. As it starts releasing the electromagnetic power through its beams, it gradually slows down. 

  • Within 10 to 108 years, it slows to the point that its beams spread and the pulsar becomes quiet.

  • The pulsar average mass is 1.35 to that of the Sun.

FAQs on Pulsar

Q1: Describe the Characteristics of a Neutron Star.

Ans: A neutron star formation occurs by using all its sources of internal energy generation. Therefore, with time, its rotation slows, which affects the magnetic fields. And eventually, it becomes invisible. It carries various characteristics.

The Key Points Below Illustrate the Specialty of a Neutron Star:

  • Neutrons carry the mass 1.4 times that of the Sun.

  • A teaspoon of a neutron star weighs about 107 tons.

  • It carries an intense gravitational speed.

  • Its radius is around 10 to 15 km.

  • Its velocity is 0.4 times the speed of the Sun.

Q2: Illustrate the Significance of a Pulsar Star.

Ans: Pulsars help us look for gravitational waves, probe the interstellar space, and even find extrasolar planets in orbit. 

In fact, in 1992, the primary extrasolar planets were discovered around a pulsar, when astronomers Aleksander Wolszczan and Dale Frail announced the invention of a multi-planet planetary system called PSR B1257+12, it is a millisecond pulsar now known to possess two extrasolar planets.

Q3: What Does Pulsar Look Like at Night?

Ans: Pulsars radiate the light in varying wavelengths, starting from radio waves to gamma rays, pulsars are the considered most energetic form of light in the universe.

At night, a pulsar a.k.a lighthouse radiates a periodic beam of light that sweeps across the sky. Since the light shines consistently, it appears that the beam is pointing directly in your direction.

Students Also Read