Radio emission from a pulsar’s magnetic pole revealed by general relativity

Gregory Desvignes, Michael Kramer, Kejia Lee, Joeri Van Leeuwen, Ingrid Stairs, Axel Jessner, Ismaël Cognard, Laura Kasian, Andrew Lyne, Ben W. Stappers

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Abstract

Binary pulsars are affected by general relativity (GR), causing the spin axis of each pulsar to precess. We present polarimetric radio observations of the pulsar PSR J1906+0746 that demonstrate the validity of the geometrical model of pulsar polarization. We reconstruct the (sky-projected) polarization emission map over the pulsar’s magnetic pole and predict the disappearance of the detectable emission by 2028. Two tests of GR are performed using this system, including the spin precession for strongly self-gravitating bodies. We constrain the relativistic treatment of the pulsar polarization model and measure the pulsar beaming fraction, with implications for the population of neutron stars and the expected rate of neutron star mergers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1013-1017
JournalScience
Volume365
Issue number6457
Early online date6 Sept 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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