Pulsar, artwork. This stellar object is a rapidly- rotating neutron star. Neutron stars have powerful magnetic fields (shown by the purple lines, though they would not be visible) and rotate very fast (in less than a second). This causes acceleration of charged particles by the magnetic field and the release of radiation at the magnetic poles (beams, upper left and lower right). When the axis of rotation does not coincide with the magnetic axis, then the rotation sends the two beams sweeping across the sky. Correctly aligned beams are seen as pulses on Earth. Neutron stars are remnant stellar cores, having a mass greater than the Sun in a volume less than 20 kilometres wide.
Science Photo Library was founded in 1981 by Michael Marten, one of the authors of "Worlds Within Worlds", a book exploring different ways to observe the universe - from electron micrographs, to images of earthrise taken from the Apollo spacecraft. When Marten started receiving requests for the beautiful images in the book, he had an idea of setting up Science Photo Library.
Since then, Science Photo Library has continued to work alongside world acclaimed photographers and the leading science and medical experts to provide a central source of the best science and specialist imagery available. Although the collection started with scientific images, it has grown to encompass all aspects of science and their impact on everyday life.
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