Quasars and Pulsars

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fordprefect

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What is/are the difference(s) between quasars and pulsars? They look pretty similar, but I'm not sure...
 
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Saiph

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welcome to SDC and nice handle btw.<br /><br />The difference is pretty big actually.<br /><br />Pulsars are neutron stars, one of the three possible remnants of a once active star (the other two being a white dwarf, and a black hole).<br /><br />Neutron stars used to be the cores of massive stars, tens of thousands of miles across (at least) before the star died in a supernova. During the nova, the core collapses (shrinks) to about the size of a large city (tens of miles across) and they end up rotating very, very fast. This rapid rotation is due to conservation of angular momentum, the same reason ice skaters spin faster when they pull their limbs in, just on a massive scale. <br /><br />Pulsars rotate hundreds of times a second.<br /><br />Now, the Neutrons star also has a magnetic field, which can act to focus a lot of the hot atmosphere on the neutron star (which is still blazing due to residual heat alone) into a single spot, and can even help focus things more into a tight "beam". As the pulsar rotates, this beam of light is rotated past our field of view, akin to a lighthouse, giving intense flashes of energy.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br />Now, quasars:<br /><br />Quasars are related to AGN (Active Galactic Nuclei). They're supermassive blackholes with insanely large accretion disks of infalling matter in what's believed to be primordial galaxies. That's right..the systems of stars and gas that formed into galaxies like ours. They're incredibly bright, and incredibly distant (they're basically the brightest most distant single objects observed).<br /><br />The infalling matter is really what we see, as it gives off tons of energy from the fall inwards and other mechanisms.<br /><br />Closer to home AGN's are still at it, these are the same thing, just not quite as active and powerful (not eating as much material as the quasars).<br /><br />The only real difference between quasars and AGN to create the naming difference is how they appear on instruments. Quasars appear, at fir <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p align="center"><font color="#c0c0c0"><br /></font></p><p align="center"><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">--------</font></em></font><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">--------</font></em></font><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">----</font></em></font><font color="#666699">SaiphMOD@gmail.com </font><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">-------------------</font></em></font></p><p><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">"This is my Timey Wimey Detector.  Goes "bing" when there's stuff.  It also fries eggs at 30 paces, wether you want it to or not actually.  I've learned to stay away from hens: It's not pretty when they blow" -- </font></em></font><font size="1" color="#999999">The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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