The Discovery of Extraterrestrial Worlds

  • David S. Stevenson
Part of the Astronomers' Universe book series (ASTRONOM)


Spinning wildly, with hundreds of revolutions per second, is the millisecond pulsar PSR B1257 + 12. Not the most glamorous-sounding object in the known universe. Yet any millisecond pulsar has led an extraordinary life. Its first breath is taken in the multi-billion-degree plasma generated in the heart of a collapsing star. As the star falls apart, the core is crushed into a fast-spinning ball of neutrons, iron and elementary particles. This is a pulsar, a spinning neutron star. The pulsar generates beams of electromagnetic radiation that sweep outwards from its magnetic poles, scanning surrounding space like the silent beams of a distant lighthouse.


Neutron Star Radial Velocity White Dwarf Giant Planet Millisecond Pulsar 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • David S. Stevenson
    • 1
  1. 1.SherwoodUK

Personalised recommendations