‘Cosmic cannonballs’ exploding out of dead star could explain mysterious flicker in the night sky

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By todaybreakingnews.org

Astronomers have solved the decade-long mystery of how a bizarre cosmic object toggles rapidly between “high” and “low” energy states: by launching plasma cannonballs from its orbit.

The object in question is a pulsar — a type of extremely magnetic neutron star. Like other neutron stars — the remnants of massive stars that have collapsed — pulsars are extremely dense and tend to spin quickly around their axes. But unlike other neutron stars, a pulsar emits bright beams of electromagnetic radiation from its poles. This gives it the appearance of “pulsing” in space, like a lighthouse beacon viewed from a distance.

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