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 What’s more, all existing models have been built on observations of pulsars in the Milky Way. Quanta Magazine, "‘Radical Change’ Needed After Latest Neutron Star Collision," 20 Feb. 2020 These are energetic radio signals that are much louder than pulsars despite being much further away. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "China's Enormous Radio Telescope Is Already Picking Up Mysterious Signals," 16 Sep. 2019 Professional alien hunters are in the business of searching for weak radio signals in a vast sky washed out by interference from satellites, TV stations, and astrophysical phenomena like pulsars. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "SETI@Home Is Over. But the Search for Alien Life Continues," 3 Mar. 2020 But the pulsar still spins, jetting out two beams of intense radiation that can be detected on Earth. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "NASA Celebrates Halloween With These Interstellar Horror Posters," 31 Oct. 2019 Signals from the pulsar (a type of neutron star) were detected 4,600 light years away from Earth. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "Astronomers Observe the Most Massive Neutron Star Ever," 16 Sep. 2019 This warping acted as a way to accelerate the pulsar's pulses through space. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Most massive neutron star ever detected strains the limits of physics," 16 Sep. 2019 And the pulsar in question here has been under observation for nearly 20 years. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "White dwarf causes strange relativity effect called frame dragging," 1 Feb. 2020 All pulsars are useful for research into astrophysics because of the way their size and density makes them behave extremely. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "This Is Wild: Astrophysicists Can See Stars Twisting Space and Time," 31 Jan. 2020

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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Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pulsar.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pulsar. Accessed 4 Jun. 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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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pulsar

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pulsar

Spanish Central: Translation of pulsar

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pulsar

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