This question comes from William.
He writes “Hi Fraser, I was wondering if you could do a video on pulsars like you did on quasars.”
You got it.
Stars are held in perfect balance between the pressure of gravity pulling them inward, and the outward force of radiation.
Once stars runs out of fuel, they collapses in on themselves - it’s the amount of mass decides what happens next.
The most massive stars detonate as supernovae, and can explode or collapse into black holes.
If they’re less massive, like our Sun, they blast away their outer layers and then slowly cool down as white dwarfs.
But for stars between 1.4 and 3.2 times the mass of the Sun, they may still become supernovae, but they just don’t have enough mass to make a black hole.
These medium mass objects end their lives as neutron stars, and some of these can become pulsars or magnetars.