Optical studies of millisecond pulsar companions

S. C. Lundgren, J. M. Cordes, R. S. Foster, A. Wolszczan, F. Camilo

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In observations of four binary millisecond pulsars with the Palomar 200 inch (5.1 m) telescope, we have detected white dwarf companions to PSR J1640+2224 and PSR J2145-0750 and placed upper limits of mr = 24 and mr = 25 on companions to PSR J0751 + 1807 and PSR J2229+2643. The temperature inferred for the companion to PSR J1640+2224 is T = 3700 ± 300 K. The luminosity inferred for a star at a distance of 1.2 kpc is consistent with that expected from a (2 ± 1) × 109 yr old helium white dwarf. For PSR J2145-0750, the measured colors are inconsistent, possibly due to a combination of emission lines in the spectrum and systematic effects introduced when subtracting a nearby star. The companion temperature derived lies in the range 4300-6800 K. For a carbon-oxygen white dwarf, the corresponding cooling age is 2-6 × 109 yr. The cooling ages of both systems with detected white dwarf companions are significantly less than the upper limits from the pulsar spin-down ages. For both pulsars, the inferred accretion rate for mass transfer during Roche lobe overflow is 2 orders of magnitude below Eddington accretion rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L33-L36
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART II
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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