Pulsar pulverizes an asteroid

Space rocks disrupt steady beat of dead star 37,000 light-years away

By Christopher Crockett, 11:09 AM February 25, 2014

Even pulsars — the rapidly spinning cores of dead stars — get kicked around sometimes. A billion-ton asteroid may have recently plunged into one such stellar remnant, which is 37,000 light-years from Earth. The collision interrupted the pulsar’s rhythmic beacon, researchers report in the January 10 Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Pulsars are the lighthouses of the universe; as they spin, they sweep out a beam of radiation. As seen from Earth, the star appears to grow brighter and then fainter wi...

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