Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Youngest Binary Pulsar

Dunc Lorimer et al have a new binary pulsar, J1906+0746 with a very low characteristic age

Found at Arecibo, interesting system, 144 ms, 4 hr orbital period, massive GR precession (so eccentric obviously, press release didn't say how eccentric). Total mass ~ 2.6 Msun, so could be double NS, which would be interesting, since characteristic age is only 105 years!

Could also be a massive WD, which would be kinda interesting. We'll know soon. I presume optical searches are underway, knowing the actual orbital eccentricity would also help.

Since it is young, and presumably has a short time scale to merger due to gravitational radiation, it is also a hint that we're still underestimating the merger rate of compact binaries; which is good news for LIGO.

Spotted on Astronomy Blog was an AAS press release apparently, lots of those still to digest.
PS: one error in astro blog article - number of pulsars passed 2000 some time ago, I distinctly remember the celebrations at the meeting where it was announced. Big 5000 next.


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