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A phenomenon in which the rotation period of a pulsar, P, steadily lengthens as the pulsar loses energy with age. Observed spin-down rates, , range from 10−12 s per second for the youngest pulsars down to 10−19 s per second for recycled pulsars. The quantity P/2 is known as the characteristic age or spin-down age of the pulsar, and is likely to represent an upper limit on the true age of the pulsar.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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