Pulsar survey finds no new examples of orbiting worlds
Planets and pulsars, the whirling cores of dead massive stars, appear to be an unlikely match. Most of these pulsating stellar corpses can’t nurture fledgling planetary systems, researchers suggest.
Scrutiny of 151 pulsars turned up no evidence for planets, researchers report in the Aug. 10 Astrophysical Journal. Planet nurseries must therefore rarely appear in the wakes of supernova explosions out of which pulsars are born, Matthew Kerr and colleagues propose.
“I was fairly pessimistic about finding any,” says Kerr, an astrophysicist at the Australia Telescope National Facility in Epping. “But you never know until you go and look.”
The first planets confirmed beyond the solar system were found around a pulsar designated PSR B1257+12, researchers announced in 1992. Despite the discovery