Astronomers Uncover a ‘Transformer’ Pulsar

christinetheastrophysicist:

Astronomers Uncover a ‘Transformer’ Pulsar

An international team of scientists using a fleet of orbiting X-ray telescopes, including NASA’s Swift and Chandra X-ray Observatory, has discovered a millisecond pulsar with a dual identity. In a feat that has never before been observed, the star readily shifts back and forth between two mutually exclusive styles of pulsed emission — one in X-rays, the other in radio.

The discovery, say scientists, represents a long-sought intermediate phase in the life of these powerful objects.

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