Pulsar in orbit
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'Cosmic lighthouse' teeters out of view

One of deep space's spinning "lighthouses" - a dense, dying star called a pulsar - has faded from view because a warp in space time tilted its beams away from Earth.

The pulsar is locked in a tight orbit with another star, with such intense gravity that space-time bends.

Astronomers tracked the system's movement for five years using huge radio telescopes.

This animation illustrates how the distortion of space-time changes the pulsar's rotation, diverting its beams of radio waves so that they start to miss Earth in 2014.

Video courtesy of Dr Joeri van Leeuwen, Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (Astron)

  • 09 Jan 2015