GMRT Discovery of A Millisecond Pulsar in a Very Eccentric Binary System

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Freire, Paulo C. ; Gupta, Yashwant ; Ransom, Scott M. ; Ishwara-Chandra, C. H. (2004)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1086/421085
  • Subject: Astrophysics
    arxiv: Astrophysics::Galaxy Astrophysics | Astrophysics::High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena | Astrophysics::Cosmology and Extragalactic Astrophysics | Astrophysics::Earth and Planetary Astrophysics | Astrophysics::Solar and Stellar Astrophysics

We report the discovery of the binary millisecond pulsar J0514-4002A, which is the first known pulsar in the globular cluster NGC 1851 and the first pulsar discovered using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT). The pulsar has a rotational period of 4.99 ms, an orbital period of 18.8 days, and the most eccentric pulsar orbit yet measured (e = 0.89). The companion has a minimum mass of 0.9 M_sun and its nature is presently unclear. After accreting matter from a low-mass companion star which spun it up to a (few) millisecond spin period, the pulsar eventually exchanged the low-mass star for its more massive present companion. This is exactly the same process that could form a system containing a millisecond pulsar and a black hole; the discovery of NGC 1851A demonstrates that such systems might exist in the Universe, provided that stellar mass black holes exist in globular clusters.
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