News of the WeekAstrophysics

Pulsar Pulls Mass From Distorted Companion

Science  02 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5544, pp. 974-977
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5544.974b

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The astrophysical zoo contains a dizzying variety of pulsars, spinning neutron stars that flash radio beams across the galaxy. Among the rarest of these dense stellar corpses are the "millisecond pulsars," which can whirl hundreds of times per second. Now, astronomers may have spied one of these exotic beasts at a critical point in its development: It's locked in a dance with a bloated star that may have just finished revving up the pulsar to a breakneck pace.