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28th of November 2017
Fifty years ago Jocelyn Bell discovered pulsars and changed our view of the universe
A pulsar is a small, spinning star – a giant ball of neutrons, left behind after a normal star has died in a fiery explosion. With a diameter of only 30 km, the star spins up to hundreds of times a second, while sending out a beam of radio waves (and sometimes other radiation, such as X-rays). When the beam is pointed in our direction and into our telescopes, we see a pulse. 2017 marks 50 years since pulsars were discovered. In that time, we have found more than 2,600 pulsars (mostly in the Milky Way), and used them to hunt for low-frequency gravitational waves, to determine the structure of our galaxy and to test the general theory of relativity. - Read more in The Conversation, article by George Hobbs, Dick Manchester and Simon Johnston.

The picture above depicts part of the old Australian $50 banknote, featuring the Parkes telescope and a pulsar.

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