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Erratic pulsar baffles astronomers

January 25, 2013

Erratic pulsar baffles astronomers

Pulsar reveals puzzling behavior.

The European Space Agency reports that new observations of a pulsar using its XMM-Newtown are baffling astronomers. This particular pulsar, who radio emission is known to “switch on and off” periodically, exhibits the same twitchy behavior when observed at X-ray wavelengths. The space agency notes that these observations have renewed the debate about the mechanisms powering the emission from pulsars.

Astronomers contend that pulsars might top the list of puzzling astronomical objects. They were first identified as flickering sources of radio waves and soon after understood as spinning stars. Despite the discovery of several thousand pulsars since the first one was identified in 1967, astronomers still lack a good understanding of the mechanisms that power them.

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