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Pulsar planet

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Pulsars are rapidly rotating neutron stars. Pulsar planets are planets that are found orbiting pulsars. The first such planet to be discovered was around a millisecond pulsar. Pulsar planets are discovered through pulsar timing measurements, to detect anomalies in the pulsation period. Any bodies orbiting the pulsar will cause regular changes in its pulsation. Since pulsars normally rotate at near-constant speed, any changes can easily be detected with the help of precise timing measurements.

In 2006 the pulsar 4U 0142+61, located 13,000 light years from Earth, was found to have a circumstellar disk. The discovery was made by a team led by Deepto Chakrabarty of MIT using the Spitzer Space Telescope.[1] The disk is thought to have formed from metal-rich debris left over from the supernova that formed the pulsar roughly 100,000 years ago and is similar to those seen around Sun-like stars, suggesting it may be capable of forming planets in a similar fashion.

Pulsar planets would be entirely incapable of supporting any form of life as we know it due to the colossal amounts of electromagnetic radiation emitted by pulsars.

List of known pulsar planets

Confirmed planets

Pulsar Planet Mass
PSR B1620-26 PSR B1620-26c 2.5 MJ
PSR 1257+12 PSR 1257+12 A 0.020 ME
PSR 1257+12 B 4.3 ME
PSR 1257+12 C 3.90 ME
PSR 1257+12 D 0.0004 ME

Doubtful planets

Pulsar Planet Mass
Geminga Geminga b 1.7 ME
PSR B0329+54 PSR B0329+54 A 0.3 ME
PSR B0329+54 B 2.2 ME
PSR B1828-10 PSR B1828-10 A 3 ME
PSR B1828-10 B 12 ME
PSR B1828-10 C 8 ME


Pulsar Proplyd
4U 0142+61 4U 0142+61's proplyd

See also


  1. Scientists crack mystery of planet formation. (April 5, 2006). Retrieved on 2006-04-05.
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