NASA has taken to its YouTube channel to announce the discovery of 300 additional pulsars that are shooting out the most powerful form of known energy in the universe.
Pulsars are neutron stars that are spinning, and neutron stars are the leftover remains of a star that has gone supernova, the exhaustion of all its fuel, and its end-of-life stage. The corpses of a once bright star are neutron stars, and approximately 10% of all pulsars shoot gamma rays from their poles, making their discovery prominent. So, why do pulsars shoot the most powerful form of energy from their poles?
Pulsars, like neutron stars, are extremely dense, with only a teaspoon of a neutron star weighing about 4 billion tons, or as much as 10,000 Empire State Buildings. This density, combined with its extremely strong magnetic field, creates funnels at the pulsar's poles. These funnels accelerate particles to incredible speeds, creating two beams of light from their poles. Since the poles of the magnetic field aren't aligned with its axis of spin, the beams of light are shot into random directions in space.
When Earth is smacked with one of these beams of light, astronomers can detect the existence of the pulsar. Pulsars are often called "cosmic lighthouses", and discovering them leads astronomers to learn more about the evolution of stars, the history of galaxies, and the overall evolution of the universe.
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