X-ray pulsators

X-ray pulsators

(pul-say -terz) Regularly variable X-ray binaries that have periods of a few seconds or in the case of the slow pulsators of a few minutes. This pulsation is widely interpreted as being associated with the rotation of a magnetized neutron star, so that these objects may be regarded as X-ray pulsars . The X-ray pulsations are believed to arise from channeling of the accreting gas onto the magnetic poles of the neutron star. The gas flow affects the neutron star's spin and as a result all X-ray pulsars (unlike other pulsars) are gradually speeding up. Examples include Centaurus X-3, Cygnus X-3, and Hercules X-1.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006