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Black Widow Star Has High-Energy Cocoon

March 01, 2003|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The Black Widow pulsar, a fast-spinning neutron star, has a cocoon of high-energy particles around it, scientists using the Chandra X-ray Observatory reported. This is the first direct evidence that this cocoon exists around the pulsar, the scientists said

The Black Widow got its nickname because the high-energy cosmic radiation it emits appears to be destroying its companion star.

The steady push of the matter drawn into the pulsar keeps spinning it ever faster, much as pushing a merry-go-round makes it go more quickly.

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