Black Widow Pulsars "Eat" Their Mates In Space

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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.


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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