Long Term Variability of a Black Widow's Eclipses -- A Decade of PSR J2051$-$0827

E. J. Polzin, R. P. Breton, B. W. Stappers, B. Bhattacharyya, G. H. Janssen, Stefan Osłowski, M. S. E. Roberts, C. Sobey

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In this paper we report on $\sim10$ years of observations of PSR J2051$-$0827, at radio frequencies in the range 110--4032 MHz. We investigate the eclipse phenomena of this black widow pulsar using model fits of increased dispersion and scattering of the pulsed radio emission as it traverses the eclipse medium. These model fits reveal variability in dispersion features on timescales as short as the orbital period, and previously unknown trends on timescales of months--years. No clear patterns are found between the low-frequency eclipse widths, orbital period variations and trends in the intra-binary material density. Using polarisation calibrated observations we present the first available limits on the strength of magnetic fields within the eclipse region of this system; the average line of sight field is constrained to be $10^{-4}$ G $\lesssim B_{||} \lesssim 10^2$ G, while for the case of a field directed near-perpendicular to the line of sight we find $B_{\perp} \lesssim 0.3$ G. Depolarisation of the linearly polarised pulses during the eclipse is detected and attributed to rapid rotation measure fluctuations of $\sigma_{\text{RM}} \gtrsim 100$ rad m$^{-2}$ along, or across, the line of sights averaged over during a sub-integration. The results are considered in the context of eclipse mechanisms, and we find scattering and/or cyclotron absorption provide the most promising explanation, while dispersion smearing is conclusively ruled out. Finally, we estimate the mass loss rate from the companion to be $\dot{M}_{\text{C}} \sim 10^{-12} M_\odot$ yr$^{-1}$, suggesting that the companion will not be fully evaporated on any reasonable timescale.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2019


  • astro-ph.HE


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