PSR J0737-3039

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PSR J0737–3039

A double radio pulsar system in the southern constellation Puppis and the first such system to be discovered. One component, a 23-millisecond pulsar now known as PSR J0737–3039 A, was discovered in 2003 by an international team of scientists using the 64-meter CSIRO radio telescope at the Parkes Observatory in New South Wales, Australia. At first it was assumed that this pulsar was orbiting a non-pulsing neutron star, but further observations made with the Parkes dish and the 76-meter Lovell radio telescope at the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, England, UK, revealed that the companion, now designated PSR J0737–3039 B, had a detectable slow pulse, rotating once every 2.8 seconds. The two pulsars are an estimated 800 000 kilometers apart and orbit around a common center of mass once every 2.4 hours. By chance the orbit appears edge-on, and each pulsar periodically eclipses the other, allowing researchers for the first time to analyze the physical conditions of a pulsar's magnetosphere or outer atmosphere. It is thought that the double-pulsar system evolved when, following the supernova explosion of the more massive PSR J0737–3039 A and its transformation into a pulsar, a companion star was born and eventually developed into a giant. Material from the giant was accreted on the pulsar by mass transfer, making it spin faster. In time, the giant also exploded as a supernova and it too developed into a pulsar. Powerful gravitational forces are drawing the pulsars closer to each other, and scientists estimate that they will coalesce in 85 million years' time, possibly forming a black hole. Distance: 500–600 pc. See pulsar.
References in periodicals archive ?
The double pulsar system J0737-3039, discovered in 2003, is an astrophysicist's dream.
The Double Pulsar, also known by its catalog number J0737-3039 for its coordinates in Canis Major, is a physicist's dream come true.
DOUBLE PULSAR The pulsars in J0737-3039 whirl around a common center of mass in only 2 hours, 25 minutes.
ORBITAL PRECESSION Due to the very strong relativistic curvature of spacetime caused by two neutron stars in close proximity to each other, J0737-3039's orbit precesses (rotates) by a whopping 16.9[degrees] per year, 141,000 times the rate of the precession of Mercury's orbit around the Sun.
Both pulsars in J0737-3039 formed in supernova explosions.
The 2003 discovery of J0737-3039 in Canis Major offers a prime testing ground for general relativity (S&T: March 2004, page 22).
In fact, the international group of radio astronomers who discovered J0737-3039 has already witnessed at least four general-relativity effects, and possibly a fifth (the geodetic effect), resulting in the theory's most precise test in a strong gravitational environment.
J0737-3039's separation shrinks by 7 millimeters each day as it casts off orbital energy in the form of gravitational waves.
The new system is named PSR J0737-3039 for its celestial coordinates just off the tail of Canis Major.
The periastron in PSR J0737-3039 is changing a whopping 16.88[degrees] per year, about 150,000 times faster than the celebrated advance of Mercury's perihelion due to relativity and four times faster than the same effect in the Taylor-Hulse binary system.