Optical pulsar

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An optical pulsar is a pulsar which can be detected in the visible spectrum. There are very few of these known: the Crab pulsar was detected by stroboscopic techniques in 1969, shortly after its discovery in radio waves, at the Steward Observatory. The Vela pulsar was detected in 1977 at the Anglo-Australian Observatory, and was the faintest star ever imaged at that time.

Six known optical pulsars are listed by Shearer and Golden (2002):

Name of pulsar Magnitude
Crab Pulsar (CM Tauri, PSR B0531+21) 17
Vela Pulsar 24
PSR B0540-69 (in the Large Magellanic Cloud) 23
PSR B0656+14 26
PSR B0633+17 (Geminga) 25.5
PSR B1509-58 (*) 25.7
*Source included but not discussed in paper by source paper.



  1. Proceedings of the 270. WE-Heraeus Seminar on Neutron Stars, Pulsars, and Supernova Remnants. MPE Report 278.; "Why study pulsars optically?"; Shearer, A. & Golden, A.; 2002; Bibcode2002nsps.conf...44S

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