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Optical identification of binary pulsars - Implications for magnetic field decay in neutron stars
Kulkarni, S. R.
AA(Palomar Observatory; Owens Valley Radio Observatory, Pasadena; California, University, Berkeley)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 2 - Letters to the Editor (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 306, July 15, 1986, p. L85-L89. (ApJL Homepage)
Publication Date:
NASA/STI Keywords:
Neutron Stars, Pulsars, Stellar Magnetic Fields, Stellar Spectrophotometry, Binary Stars, Chronology, Galactic Bulge, Stellar Evolution, White Dwarf Stars, X Ray Stars
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The discovery of the optical counterparts of two binary pulsar systems (0655 + 64 and 0820 + 02) is reported. In accordance with stellar evolution scenarios the optical counterparts are found to be white dwarfs. The existence of a cool and therefore old white dwarf in the 0655 + 64 system contradicts the standard hypothesis of exponential decay of magnetic fields in neutron stars. This contradiction is resolved by hypothesizing that the magnetic field in neutron stars consists of two components - an exponentially decaying field and a steady field. The former probably resides in the crust, and the latter perhaps in the core. The consequences of this hypothesis for the lifetimes of millisecond pulsars, binary pulsars, and galactic-bulge X-ray sources are discussed.

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