Have we ever seen a pulsar directly from above or below it's spin axis?

I am wondering if a pulsar seen from this angle would appear to be constantly spinning or if it would just appear like a normal star.

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1 Answer 1


My understanding is that we "see" pulsars (also called "supernova remnants") by the radio and/or other electromagnetic radiations which they emit, which come to us in regular pulses, like the light-beam on the conning-tower at an airport.

This is because the beam of radiation shoots out along the magnetic-axis, while the object spins around its spin-axis, which might be considerably different from the magnetic-axis.

So if we are directly above, it seems that we might not receive any of the radiation, so we might not be able to "see" the object.

  • $\begingroup$ The actual object would be far too small. $\endgroup$
    – user1569
    Aug 1, 2017 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ I agree: I recently pursued a conversation re this at this site. Nobody who responded to my question could give any convincing evidence of any accurate DIRECT measurement of a pulsar's size. The best they could do was to describe observations in which a pulsar which is part of an orbiting binary system crossed in front of its companion, a normal star, thus slightly reducing the amount of light observed from the normal star. Given that the nearest pulsar is at least 250 light-years away from us, this is not a very accurate way to calculate its radius. $\endgroup$ Aug 3, 2017 at 6:38

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