Chandra X-ray Observatory - HomeAbout The ChandraEducational MaterialsField GuidePhoto AlbumPress RoomResources
Chandra X-ray Observatory - HomeChandra Field Guide - You are here
ObservatoryAbout X-ray AstronomyX-Ray SourcesSolar SystemNormal Stars & Star ClustersWhite Dwarfs & Planetary NebulasSupernovas & Supernova RemnantsNeutron Stars/X-ray BinariesBlack HolesNormal Galaxies & Starburst GalaxiesQuasars & Active GalaxiesGroups & Clusters of GalaxiesCosmology/Deep Fields/X-ray BackgroundMiscellaneousBrown Dwarfs Gamma Ray Bursts
Web Site ToolsVisit the Chandra ChroniclesEmail NewsletterSite MapNew & NoteworthyImage Use PolicyQuestions & AnswersGlossaryDownload Guide

Neutron Stars/X-ray Binaries

Crab Nebula
The Crab Nebula
(NASA/CXC/SAO)

If the neutron star is rotating rapidly, as most young neutron stars are, the strong magnetic fields combined with rapid rotation create an awesome generator that can produce electric potential differences of quadrillions of volts. Such voltages, which are 30 million times greater than those of lightning bolts, create deadly blizzards of high-energy particles.

Rotation-powered pulsars

These high-energy particles produce beams of radiation from radio through gamma-ray energies. Like a rotating lighthouse beam, the radiation can be observed as a pulsing source of radiation, or pulsar. Pulsars were first observed by radio astronomers in 1967. There are now approximately 1000 known pulsars. The pulsar in the Crab Nebula, one of the youngest and most energetic pulsars known, has been observed to pulse in almost every wavelengthradio, optical, X-ray, and gamma-ray. A few dozen pulsars are observed to pulse in X-rays and six are seen to pulse in gamma-rays.


Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6


separator line
CXC Home | Search | Help | Site Map | Image Use Policy | Privacy & Accessibility | Downloads & Plugins
Latest Images | New & Noteworthy | Multimedia | Flash Ecards | Glossary | Q&A


RSS Feed RSS Feed | Podcast Podcast | Blog Blog

[News by email: Chandra Digest]
[Contact us: cxcpub@cfa.harvard.edu]
NASA's Home Page Smithsonian's Home Page CXC Home Page Image Map for NASA's, Smithsonian and Chandra's Home Pages
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Phone: 617.496.7941 Fax: 617.495.7356


Text Size:
normal font large font larger font
Chandra X-ray Center, Operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
This site was developed with funding from NASA under Contract NAS8-39073.
Revised: June 11, 2008