Black Widow Pulsars "Eat" Their Mates In Space

Black widow pulsars slowly eat away at their companion stars by emitting energy and wind, causing the star's material to evaporate. NASA speculates that having a star in its orbit could even "rejuvenate" a pulsar, turning a slower-spinning pulsar into a millisecond pulsar with a rotation period of 10 milliseconds or less. The black widow system PSR J1311-3430 has the tightest orbit of a companion star yet discovered: its disintegrating celestial mate completes an orbit every 93 minutes.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. As of January 2016, UY Scuti is the largest star ever discovered. 00:33

  2. In the time it takes you to blink, the pulsar J1311 spins around 150 times. 02:49

  3. A hybrid star could theoretically form after a neutron star's core collides with a supergiant star. 05:05

Written by Curiosity Staff January 15, 2016

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