Journal Article

A new technique for timing the double pulsar system

P. C. C. Freire, N. Wex, M. Kramer, D. R. Lorimer, M. A. McLaughlin, I. H. Stairs, R. Rosen and A. G. Lyne

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 396, issue 3, pages 1764-1770
Published in print July 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online June 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
A new technique for timing the double pulsar system

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In 2004, McLaughlin et al. discovered a phenomenon in the radio emission of PSR J0737−3039B (B) that resembles drifting subpulses. The repeat rate of the subpulses is equal to the spin frequency of PSR J0737−3039A (A); this led to the suggestion that they are caused by incidence upon B's magnetosphere of electromagnetic radiation from A. Here, we describe a geometrical model which predicts the delay of B's subpulses relative to A's radio pulses. We show that measuring these delays is equivalent to tracking A's rotation from the point of view of a hypothetical observer located near B. This has three main astrophysical applications: (i) to determine the sense of rotation of A relative to its orbital plane, (ii) to estimate where in B's magnetosphere the radio subpulses are modulated and (iii) to provide an independent estimate of the mass ratio of A and B. The latter might improve existing tests of gravitational theories using this system.

Keywords: binaries: general; pulsars: general; pulsars: individual: PSR J0737−3039A; pulsars: individual: PSR J0737−3039B

Journal Article.  4849 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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