The braking index of PSR J1734-3333 and the magnetar population

C. M. Espinoza, A. G. Lyne, M. Kramer, R. N. Manchester, V. M. Kaspi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    PSR J1734-3333 is a radio pulsar rotating with a period P = 1.17 s and slowing down with a period derivative , the third largest among rotation-powered pulsars. These properties are midway between those of normal rotation-powered pulsars and magnetars, two populations of neutron stars that are notably different in their emission properties. Here we report on the measurement of the second period derivative of the rotation of PSR J1734-3333 and calculate a braking index n = 0.9 0.2. This value is well below 3, the value expected for an electromagnetic braking due to a constant magnetic dipole, and indicates that this pulsar may soon have the rotational properties of a magnetar. While there are several mechanisms that could lead to such a low braking index, we discuss this observation, together with the properties exhibited by some other high- rotation-powered pulsars, and interpret it as evidence of a possible evolutionary route for magnetars through a radio-pulsar phase, supporting a unified description of the two classes of the object. © 2011. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberL13
    JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2011


    • pulsars: general
    • pulsars: individual (PSR J1734-3333)
    • stars: neutron


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