New millisecond pulsar discovered with the Green Bank telescope

Now, a team of astronomers led by Karen I. Pérez of Columbia University reports the finding of a new red back.

Using the Green Bank Telescope (GBT), astronomers from Columbia University and the University of California Berkeley have detected a new millisecond binary pulsar. The newly found pulsar, designated PSR J0212+5321, belongs to the redback subclass and is relatively close. The finding was reported on June 8 on the arXiv preprint server.

The fastest rotating pulsars, those with rotation periods less than 30 milliseconds, are known as millisecond pulsars (MSPs). The researchers surmise that they form in binary systems when the initially most massive component becomes a neutron star that then rotates due to the accumulation of matter from the secondary star.

A class of extreme binary pulsars with semi-degenerate companion stars is called “spider pulsars.” These objects are further classified as “black widows” if the companion is extremely low mass (less than 0.1 solar masses), while if the secondary star is heavier, they are called “redbacks.”

Now, a team of astronomers led by Karen I. Pérez of Columbia University reports the finding of a new red back. The pulsar was detected during a directed GBT search for the red-backed optical candidate matching the gamma-ray source 3FGL J0212.5+5320.

“We have discovered the suspected spin-fed MSP in the 3FGL J0212.1+5320 gamma-ray system with the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope using the L-band receiver at a center frequency of 1501 MHz using the Breakthrough Listen digital receiver. ”, the scientists wrote in the research paper.

Estimated to be about 3,750 light-years distant, PSR J0212+5321 has a rotation period of about 2.11 milliseconds and a scattering measurement of about 25.7 pc/cm3. The orbital period of the system was measured to be almost 0.87 days.

The collected data suggest that PSR J0212+5321 experiences wide-orbit eclipses, similar to other redbacks, as well as delays in scintillation and scattering measurements caused by its interaction with its companion and environment. The astronomers noted that PSR J0212+5321 is therefore the longest binary period eclipsing MSP known to date.

The study also found that the PSR J0212+5321 system has a mass ratio at the 0.247 level and that it shows relatively high X-ray luminosity, one of the highest recorded among redbacks in the pulsar state.

The authors of the article propose further investigation of PSR J0212+5321 to fully determine its properties and better understand its behavior.