Binary millisecond pulsar discovery via gamma-ray pulsations

H. J. Pletsch, L. Guillemot, H. Fehrmann, B. Allen, M. Kramer, C. Aulbert, M. Ackermann, M. Ajello, A. De Angelis, W. B. Atwood, L. Baldini, J. Ballet, G. Barbiellini, D. Bastieri, K. Bechtol, R. Bellazzini, A. W. Borgland, E. Bottacini, T. J. Brandt, J. BregeonM. Brigida, P. Bruel, R. Buehler, S. Buson, G. A. Caliandro, R. A. Cameron, P. A. Caraveo, J. M. Casandjian, C. Cecchi, Ö Çelik, E. Charles, R. C.G. Chaves, C. C. Cheung, J. Chiang, S. Ciprini, R. Claus, J. Cohen-Tanugi, J. Conrad, S. Cutini, F. D'Ammando, C. D. Dermer, S. W. Digel, P. S. Drell, A. Drlica-Wagner, R. Dubois, D. Dumora, C. Favuzzi, E. C. Ferrara, A. Franckowiak, Y. Fukazawa, P. Fusco, F. Gargano, N. Gehrels, S. Germani, N. Giglietto, F. Giordano, M. Giroletti, G. Godfrey, I. A. Grenier, M. H. Grondin, J. E. Grove, S. Guiriec, D. Hadasch, Y. Hanabata, A. K. Harding, P. R. Den Hartog, M. Hayashida, E. Hays, A. B. Hill, X. Hou, R. E. Hughes, G. Jóhannesson, M. S. Jackson, T. Jogler, A. S. Johnson, W. N. Johnson, J. Kataoka, M. Kerr, J. Knödlseder, M. Kuss, J. Lande, S. Larsson, L. Latronico, M. Lemoine-Goumard, F. Longo, F. Loparco, M. N. Lovellette, P. Lubrano, F. Massaro, M. Mayer, M. N. Mazziotta, J. E. McEnery, J. Mehault, P. F. Michelson, W. Mitthumsiri, T. Mizuno, M. E. Monzani, A. Morselli, I. V. Moskalenko, S. Murgia, T. Nakamori, R. Nemmen, E. Nuss, M. Ohno, T. Ohsugi, N. Omodei, M. Orienti, E. Orlando, F. De Palma, D. Paneque, J. S. Perkins, F. Piron, G. Pivato, T. A. Porter, S. Rainò, R. Rando, P. S. Ray, M. Razzano, A. Reimer, O. Reimer, T. Reposeur, S. Ritz, R. W. Romani, C. Romoli, D. A. Sanchez, P. M. Saz Parkinson, A. Schulz, C. Sgrò, E. Do Couto E Silva, E. J. Siskind, D. A. Smith, G. Spandre, P. Spinelli, D. J. Suson, H. Takahashi, T. Tanaka, J. B. Thayer, J. G. Thayer, D. J. Thompson, L. Tibaldo, M. Tinivella, E. Troja, T. L. Usher, J. Vandenbroucke, V. Vasileiou, G. Vianello, V. Vitale, A. P. Waite, B. L. Winer, K. S. Wood, M. Wood, Z. Yang, S. Zimmer

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Abstract

Millisecond pulsars, old neutron stars spun up by accreting matter from a companion star, can reach high rotation rates of hundreds of revolutions per second. Until now, all such "recycled"rotation-powered pulsars have been detected by their spin-modulated radio emission. In a computing-intensive blind search of gamma-ray data from the Fermi Large Area Telescope (with partial constraints from optical data), we detected a 2.5-millisecond pulsar, PSR J1311-3430. This unambiguously explains a formerly unidentified gamma-ray source that had been a decade-long enigma, confirming previous conjectures. The pulsar is in a circular orbit with an orbital period of only 93 minutes, the shortest of any spin-powered pulsar binary ever found.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1314-1317
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume338
Issue number6112
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec 7

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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    Pletsch, H. J., Guillemot, L., Fehrmann, H., Allen, B., Kramer, M., Aulbert, C., Ackermann, M., Ajello, M., De Angelis, A., Atwood, W. B., Baldini, L., Ballet, J., Barbiellini, G., Bastieri, D., Bechtol, K., Bellazzini, R., Borgland, A. W., Bottacini, E., Brandt, T. J., ... Zimmer, S. (2012). Binary millisecond pulsar discovery via gamma-ray pulsations. Science, 338(6112), 1314-1317. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1229054