Astrophys. J., 523, 763-770 (1999/October-1)
The triple pulsar system PSR B1620-26 in M4.
THORSETT S.E., ARZOUMANIAN Z., CAMILO F. and LYNE A.G.
Abstract (from CDS):
The millisecond pulsar PSR B1620-26, in the globular cluster M4, has a white dwarf companion in a half-year orbit. Anomalously large variations in the pulsar's apparent spin-down rate have suggested the presence of a second companion in a much wider orbit. Using timing observations made on more than 700 days spanning 11 yr, we confirm this anomalous timing behavior. We explicitly demonstrate, for the first time, that a timing model consisting of the sum of two noninteracting Keplerian orbits can account for the observed signal. Both circular and elliptical orbits are allowed, although highly eccentric orbits require improbable orbital geometries. The motion of the pulsar in the inner orbit is very nearly a Keplerian ellipse, but the tidal effects of the outer companion cause variations in the orbital elements. We have measured the change in the projected semimajor axis of the orbit, which is dominated by precession-driven changes in the orbital inclination. This measurement, along with limits on the rate of change of other orbital elements, can be used to significantly restrict the properties of the outer orbit. We find that the second companion most likely has a mass m∼0.01 M☉–it is almost certainly below the hydrogen-burning limit (m<0.036 M☉, 95% confidence)–and has a current distance from the binary of ∼35 AU and orbital period of order 100 yr. Circular (and near-circular) orbits are allowed only if the pulsar magnetic field is ∼3x109 G, an order of magnitude higher than a typical millisecond pulsar field strength. In this case, the companion has mass m∼1.2x10–3 M☉ and orbital period ∼62 yr.
Stars: Binaries: General - globular clusters: individual (M4) - Stars: Planetary Systems - pulsars: individual (PSR B1620-26)
View the references in ADS
To bookmark this query, right click on this link: simbad:1999ApJ...523..763T and select 'bookmark this link' or equivalent in the popup menu