Special Reviews

Observational Properties of Pulsars

Science  23 Apr 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5670, pp. 542-546
DOI: 10.1126/science.1097649

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Abstract

Pulsars are remarkable clocklike celestial sources that are believed to be rotating neutron stars formed in supernova explosions. They are valuable tools for investigations into topics such as neutron star interiors, globular cluster dynamics, the structure of the interstellar medium, and gravitational physics. Searches at radio and x-ray wavelengths over the past 5 years have resulted in a large increase in the number of known pulsars and the discovery of new populations of pulsars, posing challenges to theories of binary and stellar evolution. Recent images at radio, optical, and x-ray wavelengths have revealed structures resulting from the interaction of pulsar winds with the surrounding interstellar medium, giving new insights into the physics of pulsars.

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