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Discovery of a pulsar in a binary system
Hulse, R. A.; Taylor, J. H.
AA(Massachusetts, University, Amherst, Mass.), AB(Massachusetts, University, Amherst, Mass.)
Astrophysical Journal, vol. 195, Jan. 15, 1975, pt. 2, p. L51-L53. (ApJL Homepage)
Publication Date:
NASA/STI Keywords:
Binary Stars, Orbital Elements, Pulsars, Relativistic Effects, Black Holes (Astronomy), Companion Stars, Eccentric Orbits, Mass Ratios, Neutron Stars, Radial Velocity, Velocity Distribution
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We have detected a pulsar with a pulsation period that varies systematically between 0.058967 and 0.059045 sec over a cycle of 0.3230 d. Approximately 200 independent observations over 5-minute intervals have yielded a well-sampled velocity curve which implies a binary orbit with projected semimajor axis sin i = 1.0 solar radius, eccentricity e = 0.615, and mass function f(m) = 0.13 solar mass. No eclipses are observed. We infer that the unseen companion is a compact object with mass comparable to that of the pulsar. In addition to the obvious potential for determining the masses of the pulsar and its companion, this discovery makes feasible a number of studies involving the physics of compact objects, the astrophysics of close binary systems, and special- and general-relativistic effects.

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