Professor James Lattimer
Department of Physics and Astronomy
7:30 pm Room 001 ESS Building
Friday, September 7, 2007

The Top of Astronomy: Pulsars

Pulsars are the most rapidly rotating objects observed, some spinning as fast as 700 times per second. Considering these are neutron stars, each wider than Manhattan, that is fast, indeed. They emit rays of energy, in radio, optical and/or x-radiation, that sweep past us like lighthouse beams. Pulsars appear to be highly magnetic, with fields up to a quadrillion Gauss. Over 1700 pulsars have been cataloged. Dozens are known in binary systems, and many of these have been weighed. Some pulsars are speeding through space at over 3 million miles per hour!

In the next of the popular series Astronomy Open Night, Prof. James Lattimer will describe the observed properties of pulsars and what has been deduced about their origin, structure and evolution. Some special pulsars will be examined more closely, including the first one discovered, the fastest spinning, the fastest moving, the most massive, the most magnetized, the closest, the oddest, the one with the first-discovered extra-solar planets, and the one that emitted the largest burst of radiation ever recorded in our Galaxy.

Dr. Lattimer is a Professor of Physics & Astronomy. He has been at Stony Brook, living in East Setauket, for over 25 years, and is a former chairman of the Earth and Space Sciences Department. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.