Astrophysics (index)

Black Widow Pulsar

(B1957+20, PSR J1959+2048, PSR B1957+20)
(binary system consisting of a pulsar and small companion)

The Black Widow Pulsar (B1957+20, PSR B1957+20, or PSR J1959+2048) is a Binary Star consisting of a Pulsar (Neutron Star) and a companion in an orbit that eclipses the pulsar. This has allowed for unique observations on the effect of the companion's "Atmosphere" on the pulsar signal.

The name comes from the fact that the neutron star appears to be evaporating the companion, which could disappear in a billion years or so and the phrase black widow pulsar has been adopted as a term for pulsars doing this. The companion has been thought to be a White Dwarf, but is now considered a Brown Dwarf or giant Extra Solar Planet, but even if classified as a planet (based on mass), it is thought to be the remnant of a slowly-disappearing star.

(pulsar,binary star)
/Lookback Years
~01.53kpc4.99klyBlack Widow Pulsar