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An optical pulsar is a pulsar which can be detected in the visible spectrum. There are very few of these known: the Crab pulsar was detected by stroboscopic techniques in 1969, shortly after its discovery in radio waves, at the Steward Observatory. The Vela pulsar was detected in 1977 at the Anglo-Australian Observatory, and was the faintest star ever imaged at that time.
Six known optical pulsars are listed by Shearer and Golden (2002):
|Name of pulsar||Magnitude |
|Crab Pulsar (CM Tauri, PSR B0531+21)||17|
|PSR B0540-69 (in the Large Magellanic Cloud)||23|
|PSR B0633+17 (Geminga)||25.5|
|PSR B1509-58 (*)||25.7|
|*Source included but not discussed in paper by source paper.|
- COCKE, W. J.; DISNEY, M. J.; TAYLOR, D. J. (February 1969). "Discovery of Optical Signals from Pulsar NP 0532". Nature. 221 (5180): 525–527. doi:10.1038/221525a0.
- NATHER, R. E.; WARNER, B.; MACFARLANE, M. (February 1969). "Optical Pulsations in the Crab Nebula Pulsar". Nature. 221 (5180): 527–529. doi:10.1038/221527a0.
- Proceedings of the 270. WE-Heraeus Seminar on Neutron Stars, Pulsars, and Supernova Remnants. MPE Report 278.; "Why study pulsars optically?"; Shearer, A. & Golden, A.; 2002; Bibcode: 2002nsps.conf...44S
- "A Pulsar Discovery: First Optical Pulsar." Moments of Discovery, American Institute of Physics, 2007 (Includes audio and teachers guides).