Discovery of a radio-emitting neutron star with an ultra-long spin period of 76 s

Manisha Caleb, Ian Heywood, Kaustubh Rajwade, Mateusz Malenta, Benjamin Willem Stappers, Ewan Barr, Weiwei Chen, Vincent Morello, Sotiris Sanidas, Jakob Van Den Eijnden, Michael Kramer, David Buckley, Jaco Brink, Sara Elisa Motta, Patrick Woudt, Patrick Weltevrede, Fabian Jankowski, Mayuresh Surnis, Sarah Buchner, Mechiel Christiaan BezuidenhoutLaura Nicole Driessen, Rob Fender

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The radio-emitting neutron star population encompasses objects with spin periods ranging from milliseconds to tens of seconds. As they age and spin more slowly, their radio emission is expected to cease. We present the discovery of an ultra-long period radio-emitting neutron star, PSR J0901􀀀4046 , with spin properties distinct from the known spin and magnetic-decay powered neutron stars. With a spin-period of 75.88 s, a characteristic age of 5.3 Myr, and a narrow pulse duty-cycle, it is uncertain how radio emission is generated and challenges our current understanding of how these systems evolve.
The radio emission has unique spectro-temporal properties such as quasi-periodicity and partial nulling that provide important clues to the emission mechanism. Detecting similar sources is observationally challenging, which implies a larger undetected population. Our discovery establishes the existence of ultra-long period neutron stars, suggesting a possible connection to the evolution of highly magnetized neutron stars, ultra-long period magnetars, and fast radio bursts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Astronomy
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2022


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