A Pulsar Bonanza

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Science  11 Feb 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5711, pp. 855-856
DOI: 10.1126/science.1109555

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Pulsars are rapidly spinning neutron stars that can provide insights into general relativity, galactic astronomy, planetary physics, and even cosmology. Globular clusters-dense conglomerations of 100,000 or more stars-tend to contain many such objects, but their detection is not always straightforward. In his Perspective, Lorimer highlights the discovery by Ransom et al. of 21 new pulsars in a globular cluster called Terzan 5; before this discovery only three pulsars were known in this cluster. The pulsars are spinning with millisecond periods and differ from previously discovered pulsar populations in other clusters. Radio observations indicate that Terzan 5 may yield even more pulsars in the near future.