Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 21:23 EDT
Artists rendition of extreme stellar system Image 1
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Artist's rendition of extreme stellar system (Image 1)

October 29, 2013
An artists rendition of PSR J0348+0432, an extreme stellar system. The white-dwarf companion, with 17 percent of the mass of the sun, is the larger object in white; a pulsar, with a mass twice that of the sun and spinning 25 times per second, is represented with radio beams originating along the direction of its magnetic poles. The movement of the binary emits gravitational waves, ripples in space-time (illustrated by the mesh) that propagate outwards at the speed of light. An international research team led by astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (Germany) used a variety of large optical and radio telescopes including the National Science Foundation's Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico--the world's largest, to study PSR J0348+0432. The Arecibo Observatory is operated by SRI International in alliance with Ana G. Mendez-Universidad Metropolitana and the Universities Space Research Association, under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (grant AST 11-00968). (Date of Image: April 2013) Credit: Luis Calçada/ESO