We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Pulsar?

Michael Anissimov
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
All The Science is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All The Science, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A pulsar is a rapidly rotating neutron star which emits large amounts of electromagnetic radiation (light, x-rays, radio waves, etc.) and particle jets. A neutron star is what is left over when a star 4 - 8 times the mass of our sun burns up most of its fuel and explodes in a supernova. The outer layers of the star shoot outwards rapidly, while the stellar core collapses to a sphere approximately 20 km in diameter. Some neutron stars do not rotate very rapidly but those that do are known as pulsars.

Suns more massive than 8 times the mass of our sun collapse to form black holes, which emit very little radiation because their gravity well is so deep that nothing can escape from it. Suns less than 4 times the mass of our sun turn into Red Giants and then brown dwarfs, without collapsing into a neutron star. But those suns that do collapse into neutron stars release a massive amount of energy in the process, due to the sheer energy of the collapsing matter. Sometimes a small initial rotation in the stellar core will amplify greatly as the collapse ensues, as an ice skater tends to spin more rapidly and they draw their arms closer in towards themselves.

The particle jets and electromagnetic radiation emanate from two locations on the spinning neutron star - the north and south magnetic poles. Because the gravity of the neutron star is so massive (thousands of times that of the sun), very little matter or light escapes from any other part of the pulsar. Because the magnetic poles are slightly misaligned with the axis of rotation, just like on Earth, we observe pulsars as light sources which blink on and off at a regular frequency, as the magnetic poles are spun around by the rotation of the star. This phenomenon was first observed by the graduate student Jocelyn Bell Burnell in late 1967.

Pulsars produce magnetic fields approximately a trillion times more intense than Earth's. Pulsars in binary configurations with normal stars are the most easily observable, as all neutron stars tend to pull matter off of their companion stars, resulting in a luminous accretion disk. Pulsars accreting matter from a companion star tend to rotate even more rapidly as they gain mass. Pulsars rotate somewhere between 10 and 1000 times a second, with some variants spinning even more rapidly. The rotation rates of some pulsars are so regular that they are known as the most accurate clocks in the universe. Among the most exotic of cosmological objects, pulsars give us a window into a bizarre world where high-intensity gravitational and electromagnetic fields are exposed to relativistic speeds, thus testing the very limits of our understanding of physics.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Anissimov
By Michael Anissimov , Writer
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, and futurism to his articles. An avid blogger, Michael is deeply passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies. His professional experience includes work with the Methuselah Foundation, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and Lifeboat Foundation, further showcasing his commitment to scientific advancement.

Discussion Comments

Michael Anissimov

Michael Anissimov


Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology...
Learn more
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.