Event Overview

A Millisecond Pulsar in a Stellar Triple System

Department Colloquia

Speaker: Ingrid Stairs, UBC
Date & Time: March 20, 2014 16:00 - 17:00
Location: UBC, Hennings 201
Local Contact: Robert Raussendorf
Intended Audience: Undergraduate

Radio pulsars with millisecond rotation rates are “spun-up” by accretion of matter and angular momentum from an evolving companion star. Not surprisingly, most such millisecond pulsars are found in binary systems, typically with white-dwarf companions. Pulsars with more companions are extremely rare, and the examples known to date have involved one or more planetary-mass objects. Recently, my collaborators and I have discovered a millisecond pulsar with two stellar-mass companions. Both companions appear to be white dwarfs, pointing to a unusual evolutionary history for this system. The triple is quite compact, with the period of the outer orbit being less than a year. This allows for high-precision monitoring of 3-body effects and also paves the way for a stringent test of the validity of the Strong Equivalence Principle.


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