A Mate for the Crab?

Pulsars are rapidly spinning neutron stars produced by the explosion of a star as a supernova. They are incredibly dense (packing about one solar mass into a sphere of radius of about 10 kilometers) and may possess strong magnetic fields which can produce high energy particles and high energy radiation. The Crab Pulsar is the best studied pulsar, and much of what astronomers know about pulsars is based on studies of the crab. Now astronomers have detected a crab-like pulsar in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a companion galaxy to the Milky Way. The Chandra High Resolution Camera has obtained an X-ray of the nebula around the pulsar. This nebula, which appears as the bright elongated patch at the left center of the image, is energized by the strong magnetic field and energetic particles produced by the pulsar. For comparison the inset on the lower right shows the Chandra image of the Crab pulsar and its nebula.

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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified February 25, 2001