No Explanation for Pulsar With Split Personality
A pulsar that randomly and without warning dramatically changes its pattern of radio wave and X-ray emissions has surprised a team of astronomers, who wrote that it “challenges all proposed pulsar emission theories.” Pulsars are spinning stars the size of a small city, with a mass roughly comparable to our Sun. They have a strong magnetic field that is around a million times stronger than what scientists can reproduce in labs on Earth.
They emit oppositely directed beams of radiation from their magnetic poles. Just like a lighthouse, the star spins and the beam sweeps past Earth, so that we just see a brief flash. Some pulsars produce radiation across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, including X-ray and radio wavelengths.