Record-breaking ‘black-widow’ pulsar found just 3,000 light-years from Earth

A fast-spinning pulsar hungrily feeding on a close companion star has been found 3,000 light-years from Earth in a rare type of cannibalistic system known as a black-widow binary.

Around two dozen black-widow binaries are currently known in the Milky Way galaxy. They typically feature a pulsar, which is the spinning neutron-star remnant of a massive star that exploded in a supernova, stealing matter from a companion star. As the infalling matter accumulates onto the surface of the pulsar, a torrent of X-rays and gamma rays are unleashed, which further erodes and destroys the companion.

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