A Millisecond Pulsar in a Stellar Triple System

Speaker: 
Ingrid Stairs, UBC
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2014-03-20 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Robert Raussendorf
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
Radio pulsars with millisecond rotation rates are "spun-up" by accretion of matter and angular momentum from an evolving companion star. Not surprisingly, most such millisecond pulsars are found in binary systems, typically with white-dwarf companions. Pulsars with more companions are extremely rare, and the examples known to date have involved one or more planetary-mass objects. Recently, my collaborators and I have discovered a millisecond pulsar with two stellar-mass companions. Both companions appear to be white dwarfs, pointing to a unusual evolutionary history for this system. The triple is quite compact, with the period of the outer orbit being less than a year. This allows for high-precision monitoring of 3-body effects and also paves the way for a stringent test of the validity of the Strong Equivalence Principle.
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