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For other uses, see Pulsar.

USS Voyager within a binary pulsar star system

A pulsar is a rotating neutron star which emits detectable electromagnetic radiation, including radio waves. The radiation intensity varies with a regular period, corresponding to the star's rotation period.


Like a wormhole, pulsars naturally created a regular, predictable distortion to the strata of space-time. (TTN novel: Sword of Damocles)

Pulsars could be used as a means of triangulating spacial location. (ST - The Lost Era novel: The Sundered, TNG episode: "Transfigurations", ENT episode: "Fight or Flight"). In particular, the Borg transmitted the location of Earth to the Delta Quadrant described using a pulsar map. (ENT episode: "Regeneration")

The Gombara Pulsar was significant to the Chodak Empire since it was the basis of their measurements, such as the balchacks. (TNG video game: A Final Unity)

A rogue pulsar designated PSR 418-D/1015.3 passed through the Mestiko system in 2265, doing significant damage to the planet Mestiko, despite the best efforts of the Federation and the crew of the USS Enterprise. (TOS - Mere Anarchy eBook: Things Fall Apart)

Three pulsars were visible to the naked eye from Eeiauoa. Spock noted one which rotated 95 times per minute. Another would have been its north star 2,000 years earlier, had a rotation between 120-125 spins per minute, and was used to determine the location of Sivao, birthplace of the Eeiauoans. (TOS novel: Uhura's Song)

Traveling through a pulsar

In 2269, the Enterprise tested a new Starfleet cloaking device in an unspecified system near the Romulan Neutral Zone which contained a pulsar. The device unexpectedly phased the exterior hull and the ship’s personnel, rendering the ship helpless. As James T. Kirk and Spock worked to recover the ship, they were found and boarded by a Romulan bird of prey commanded by Liviana Charvanek. To evade the Romulans, Kirk ordered the Enterprise to travel directly through the pulsar. The phase cloak protected the ship from the crushing gravitational forces, and it emerged safely on the other side, only to be met by the D7/Stormbird-class ChR Cheron. Enterprise turned back toward the pulsar. During the chase, portions of the pursuing D7 were shattered by gravimetric disruptions. (TOS - Year Four comics: "The Enterprise Experiment, Part 1", "The Enterprise Experiment, Part 2")

En route to Briamos in the year 2270, the USS Enterprise was buffeted strongly and damaged by radiation from a variable pulsar. Federation warning buoys that had been placed around the navigation hazard had been destroyed by Klingon Captain Kumara. (TAS novelization: The Slaver Weapon)

A data crystal using the Temaris system as a reference point was used to track the Erisians. It initially indicated coordinates which were 100 AU away from the Edris pulsar. (TOS novel: Probe)

The Epsilon Pulsar Cluster was a cluster of pulsars in the Epsilon IX sector. The USS Enterprise-D was en route there in 2365. (TNG episode: "Samaritan Snare")

A telepathic duplicate of Jean-Luc Picard diverted the Enterprise-D to the Lonka cluster pulsar. It was 4.356 solar masses, and the ship approached within 20 million kilometers, with Worf reporting that shields would hold at that range for 18 minutes against the pulsar’s magnetic fields and radiation output. (TNG episode: "Allegiance")

A class 4 pulsar was located three light years from the Dorias cluster. It was a clue to the source of a probe sent to Picard by DaiMon Bok. (TNG episode: "Bloodlines")

Dikon Alpha was a class nine pulsar. Geordi LaForge believed that detonating a modified torpedo near the pulsar would generate verteron emissions. (TNG episode: "Emergence")

The Great Pulsar was a well studied pulsar and its gravitational data well known. Its gravity deflected the course of an artificial quantum singularity, remains of a Romulan engine core, towards a heavily-populated region of the Federation and Klingon space. (TNG novella: The Badlands, Part II)

Kathryn Janeway was commended for research on microsecond pulsars during a six-month research trip into the Beta Quadrant. (VOY novels: Mosaic, Pathways)

The third leg of the Antarian Trans-Stellar Rally contained the Mobius Inversion near at least two pulsars. Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres flew past them in the Delta Flyer II in 2377. (VOY episode: "Drive")

The Window of Dreams pulsar cluster

Electromagnetic fields from the Window of Dreams pulsar cluster resonated against a starship’s hull to produce a musical sound. Ranek thought it was a beautiful sight. (VOY episode: "Body and Soul")

Unusual uses

A pulsar near the Andorian's Thraz Outpost was the source of the Thraz Streamer, a 20-meter-wide flume of faster-than-light tachyons. The streamer disrupted warp fields, but was the source of research into warp travel without a need for engines. (TOS short story: "Ambition")

In 2364, Paul Mannheim used pulsar energy to trigger a far-reaching spacial and temporal distortion in the Vandor system, a binary containing a pulsar and a giant B class star. (TNG episode: "We'll Always Have Paris")

In 2376, Reginald Barclay at the Pathfinder Project had the MIDAS Array fire a 60 terawatt tachyon beam at a class B itinerant pulsar to create a gravimetric surge and produce a micro-wormhole. It allowed brief two-way communication with Voyager. (VOY episode: "Pathfinder") Signals were amplified by a cyclic pulsar to provide brief monthly communication. (VOY episode: "Life Line")

The Furnace was an unusual quasar in the Coalsack Nebula which generated extremely large amounts of electromagnetic and radio interference. Some scientists thought it should be reclassified as a pulsar. It was used to absorb the energy of the Genesis Wave. (TNG novel: The Genesis Wave, Book Two)

Black Mass ships traveled by skimming the electromagnetic field of a pulsar. Using a slingshot maneuver, this triggered a space-warp effect and propelled them at warp speeds. Their destructive path could be tracked via the pulsars they followed within a region called the Hunger Zone in ThaiIonian space. (NF novel: Dark Allies)

Radiation and gravity from a pulsar provided a propulsion boost to spinners, non-sentient space-faring creatures. (TTN novel: Orion's Hounds)


The Mutara Nebula contained thick bands of dust caused by electromagnetic pressure waves from an exploded star at the center, a pulsar. (TOS novelization: The Wrath of Khan)

Near NGC4258, the USS Enterprise-D investigated a billisecond pulsar, one which rotated so quickly that its radio and x-ray emissions were steady. The pulsar was located within a supernova remnant. (TNG novel: Intellivore)

Jadzia Dax and Keiko O'Brien investigated a massive plasma storm which Dax thought had a “comet-like pulsar” at the center. The storm had 1067 ergs/second of rotational energy. (TNG novel: The Death of Princes)

Star/pulsar systems

The binary Beta Herculani system contained a pulsar and a red giant. During shore leave, Pavel Chekov and Hikaru Sulu spent time in a simulator rescuing a shuttle caught in its gravity well. (TOS novel: Death Count)

A Vulcan ship commanded by Talma Pren approached a system containing a pulsar and a brown star, remnants of a supernova. Their magnetic and rotational axes were not the same, which lessened the danger. However, sensor resolution was diminished, due to strong stellar winds from the star combined with both random gamma ray bursts and regular x-ray pulses from the pulsar. (ST - The Lost Era novel: Well of Souls)

In 2332, the USS Enterprise-C detected a binary star system which was made up of a pulsar and subgiant star. Because the pulsar had the strongest gravity it stole layers of gas from the subgiant. (ST short story: "Hour of Fire")

The Split Infinite was a cosmic string that intersected a pulsar in the Delta Five Gamma Zeta Alpha system, resulting in the string rotating and generating a wormhole. The resulting energy appeared as if a serpent were twisting around it thousands of times per second. Emissions created neutrino waves, plasma storms, gravity distortions and gamma rays. (TNG novel: Indistinguishable from Magic)

Pulsar binaries

Pulsar binaries, a binary system composed of two pulsars, were extremely rare. When pulsars got too close to each other, their orbits would destabilize, triggering an explosion with the force of a small supernova. It could also shoot the primary star mass outward at relativistic speeds. (VOY novel: Death of a Neutron Star)

When a neutron star and pulsar orbited each other, they distorted subspace and disrupted subspace communications. (TNG - Gateways novel: Chainmail)

The binary system Weber 512 consisted of a pair of neutron stars orbiting each other dozens of times per second, creating intense gravitational waves and disruptive radiation bursts. Wesley Crusher considered it more interesting than a mere pulsar. It was located one light year away from the Megaran system. (TNG novel: Debtors' Planet)

In 2374, Voyager passed within one million km of a pulsar binary to force Takar and two Srivani ships to withdraw from their experimentation with Voyager’s crew. High gamma radiation, random proton bursts and intense gravity were reported. Hull temperature exceeded 9,000 degrees and their odds of surviving were 1:20. (VOY episode: "Scientific Method")






Stellar classification
By class and type class O blue-violet starclass B blue starclass A blue-white starclass F white star (white dwarf) • class G yellow star (yellow dwarfyellow giant) • class K orange star (orange giant) • class M red star (red dwarfred giant) • boson starbrown dwarfgreen starN-type starR-type starS-type starD-type star
By size or makeup black hole/black starcarbon stardwarf star (brown dwarfred dwarfwhite dwarfyellow dwarf) • giant star (blue giantred giantorange giantyellow giant) • Lazarus starmicrostarneutron star (collapsarmagnetarpulsar) • protostarsupergiant starvariable starwhite holeWolf-Rayet star

External links