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Today's Colloquium: A white dwarf pulsar

Submitter: Thomas Marsh
Description: Last year a remarkable fast-spinning white dwarf was found that might be a white dwarf analogue of (neutron star) pulsars. The white dwarf which spins with a period of 2 minutes is located within a close binary system. The system as a whole features very broad-band synchrotron emission and exceedingly strong pulsations, which at optical wavelengths can cause it to brighten by more than a factor of 5 in 30 seconds. It is the first white dwarf to show periodic pulsations at radio frequencies.

In this talk I will set the context of this object, describe its unique observational characteristics, including new data taken since the discovery paper. I will also outline the considerable theoretical challenges faced in understanding this unique star the existence of which is currently unexplained.
Copyright: Thomas Marsh
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