Research Article

A Double-Pulsar System: A Rare Laboratory for Relativistic Gravity and Plasma Physics

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Science  20 Feb 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5661, pp. 1153-1157
DOI: 10.1126/science.1094645

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The clocklike properties of pulsars moving in the gravitational fields of their unseen neutron-star companions have allowed unique tests of general relativity and provided evidence for gravitational radiation. We report here the detection of the 2.8-second pulsar J0737–3039B as the companion to the 23-millisecond pulsar J0737–3039A in a highly relativistic double neutron star system, allowing unprecedented tests of fundamental gravitational physics. We observed a short eclipse of J0737–3039A by J0737–3039B and orbital modulation of the flux density and the pulse shape of J0737–3039B, probably because of the influence of J0737–3039A's energy flux on its magnetosphere. These effects will allow us to probe magneto-ionic properties of a pulsar magnetosphere.

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