pul·​sar | \ ˈpəl-ˌsär How to pronounce pulsar (audio) \

Definition of pulsar

: a celestial source of pulsating electromagnetic radiation (such as radio waves) characterized by a short relatively constant interval (such as .033 second) between pulses that is held to be a rotating neutron star

Examples of pulsar in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Satellites are already interfering with radio astronomy, which studies solar activity, black holes, pulsars, star formation and the echoes of the Big Bang. Michael Byers And Aaron Boley, Twin Cities, "Byers, Boley: How Elon Musk can help save astronomy," 26 Dec. 2019 That’s because the number of pulsars in each pixel will also vary, contributing extra pixel-to-pixel variations. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Physicists revive hunt for dark matter in the heart of the Milky Way," 12 Nov. 2019 These highly magnetized pulsars, which emit unpredictable bursts of X-rays and gamma rays, are magnetars. Quanta Magazine, "The Most-Magnetic Objects in the Universe Attract New Controversy," 28 Oct. 2019 The low-frequency antennas observe radio emissions from pulsars—spinning neutron stars—and the epoch of reionization, when light from the universe’s first stars was ionizing the hydrogen in the space between galaxies. Dennis Normile, Science | AAAS, "Giant radio telescope array prepares to begin construction in Australia and South Africa," 25 Nov. 2019 The app lets scientists tap into your phone’s unused computer power to hunt for extraterrestrial life, scan the skies for blinking pulsars, and explore new proteins in three-dimension. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "7 Science Apps That Will Make You Smarter," 30 Sep. 2019 Here, telescopes have found black holes, pulsars, radiation belts, and gravitational waves. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "WiFi Is Illegal in This American Town. (And Yes, People Actually Live There.)," 28 Oct. 2019 Author Angela Saini reminds us that astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell missed out on a Nobel Prize in 1974 for her work on the discovery of pulsars, which was given to her boss, Antony Hewish. National Geographic, "What can history teach us about a female future?," 21 Oct. 2019 Bell Burnell was the first in her lab to discover the astronomical object that would lead to the identification of pulsars. Susan Dominus, Smithsonian, "Women Scientists Were Written Out of History. It’s Margaret Rossiter’s Lifelong Mission to Fix That," 19 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pulsar.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pulsar

1968, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pulsar

puls(ating) + -ar (in quasar)

Note: The coinage was apparently made by the astronomers Jocelyn Bell Burnell (born 1943 in Northern Ireland) and Antony Hewish (born 1924 in England), who discovered the objects in November, 1967. The Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edition, cites the following from the Daily Telegraph (March 5, 1968, p. 21): "The name Pulsar (Pulsating Star) is likely to be given to it… Dr. A. Hewish…told me yesterday: '…I am sure that today every radio telescope is looking at the Pulsars.'" The word pulsar was not used in the first formal report of the discovery (A. Hewish, S.J. Bell,, et al., "Observation of a Rapidly Pulsating Radio Source," Nature, vol. 217, February 24, 1968, pp. 709-13).

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Time Traveler for pulsar

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The first known use of pulsar was in 1968

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Statistics for pulsar

Last Updated

27 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pulsar.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pulsar. Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for pulsar


How to pronounce pulsar (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pulsar

technical : a type of star that gives off a rapidly repeating series of radio waves

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pulsar

Spanish Central: Translation of pulsar

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pulsar

Comments on pulsar

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showing steady, earnest care and effort

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