The pulsar at the heart of the Crab Nebula; also known as PSR 0531 + 21 (formerly NP 0532). The Crab Pulsar has a period of 33.08 ms and is slowing by 36.4 ns per day. The rotational energy it loses is turned into synchrotron emission in the surrounding nebula. Its spin-down age is consistent with its birth in the supernova of ad1054 that gave rise to the Crab Nebula, making it one of the youngest pulsars known. The Crab Pulsar was discovered at radio wavelengths in 1968. In 1969 it became the first pulsar seen to be flashing optically. Pulses at the same frequency have since been detected at X-ray and gamma-ray wavelengths. Visually it appears as a star of 16th magnitude.
Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.