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A pulsar is a rapidly spinning neutron star that emits energy in pulses. Like a black hole, it is an endpoint to stellar evolution. The "pulses" of high-energy radiation we see from a pulsar are due to a misalignment of the neutron star's rotation axis and its magnetic axis. Pulsars pulse because the rotation of the neutron star causes the radiation generated within the magnetic field to sweep in and out of our line of sight with a regular period.

Pulsars are simple in theory, but complex in reality. They are modeled as spinning magnets. This simple view hides the enormous complexity of these interesting objects, which come in several types.

For type specific information see gamma ray pulsar, x-ray pulsar, anomalous x-ray pulsar, magnetar; for a list of known pulsars, see Category:Pulsars.