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Science. 2008 Jun 6;320(5881):1309-12. doi: 10.1126/science.1157580. Epub 2008 May 15.

An eccentric binary millisecond pulsar in the galactic plane.

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  • 1Department of Physics, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 2T8, Canada.


Binary pulsar systems are superb probes of stellar and binary evolution and the physics of extreme environments. In a survey with the Arecibo telescope, we have found PSR J1903+0327, a radio pulsar with a rotational period of 2.15 milliseconds in a highly eccentric (e = 0.44) 95-day orbit around a solar mass (M(middle dot in circle)) companion. Infrared observations identify a possible main-sequence companion star. Conventional binary stellar evolution models predict neither large orbital eccentricities nor main-sequence companions around millisecond pulsars. Alternative formation scenarios involve recycling a neutron star in a globular cluster, then ejecting it into the Galactic disk, or membership in a hierarchical triple system. A relativistic analysis of timing observations of the pulsar finds its mass to be 1.74 +/- 0.04 M solar symbol, an unusually high value.

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