Spectra of seven well-known pulsars

Spectra of known pulsars

(Credit: D.J. Thompson (NASA/GSFC))

These energy spectra of seven high-energy pulsars are shown in a format that plots the power seen per decade of energy observed. All these pulsars have their maximum output in the hard X-ray to gamma-ray energy band, displaying vastly more energy at high energies than in the optical or radio bands. Pulsars, with their powerful electric and magnetic fields, produce many high-energy particles that radiate X-rays and gamma rays. In addition, some of these rotating neutron stars have "hot spots" on their surface that produce a "bump" in their spectra in the soft X-ray energy range. At the highest energies, all these pulsars show a drop-off in their output; the reason for this decrease remains unknown.

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