Hellenica World

Pulsar planet

An artist's conception of PSR 1257+12's system of planets, NASA/JPL-Caltech

Pulsar planets are planets that are found orbiting pulsars, or rapidly rotating neutron stars. The first such planet to be discovered was around a millisecond pulsar and was the first extrasolar planet to be discovered. Pulsar planets are discovered through pulsar timing measurements, to detect anomalies in the pulsation period. Any bodies orbiting the pulsar will cause regular changes in its pulsation. Since pulsars normally rotate at near-constant speed, any changes can easily be detected with the help of precise timing measurements.

In 2006 the pulsar 4U 0142+61, located 13,000 light years from Earth, was found to have a circumstellar disk. The discovery was made by a team led by Deepto Chakrabarty of MIT using the Spitzer Space Telescope.[1] The disk is thought to have formed from metal-rich debris left over from the supernova that formed the pulsar roughly 100,000 years ago and is similar to those seen around Sun-like stars, suggesting it may be capable of forming planets in a similar fashion. Pulsar planets would be unlikely to harbour life as we know it, because the high levels of ionizing radiation emitted by the pulsar and the corresponding paucity of visible light.

List of known pulsar planets

Note: MJ refers to the mass of Jupiter, and ME to the mass of Earth.

Confirmed planets

Pulsar Planet Mass
PSR B1620-26 PSR B1620-26c 2.5 MJ
PSR 1257+12 PSR 1257+12 A 0.020 ME
PSR 1257+12 B 4.3 ME
PSR 1257+12 C 3.90 ME
PSR 1257+12 D 0.0004 ME

Doubtful planets

Pulsar Planet Mass
Geminga Geminga b 1.7 ME
PSR B0329+54 PSR B0329+54 A 0.3 ME
PSR B0329+54 B 2.2 ME
PSR B1828-10 PSR B1828-10 A 3 ME
PSR B1828-10 B 12 ME
PSR B1828-10 C 8 ME


Pulsar Proplyd
4U 0142+61 4U 0142+61's proplyd

See also

* List of stars with confirmed extrasolar planets

* List of unconfirmed exoplanets

* List of stars with proplyds

* Extrasolar planet

* Andrew Lyne

* Aleksander Wolszczan

* Dale Frail


1. ^ Scientists crack mystery of planet formation. CNN.com (April 5, 2006). Retrieved on 2006-04-05.

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