Report

A Population of Gamma-Ray Millisecond Pulsars Seen with the Fermi Large Area Telescope

Science  14 Aug 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5942, pp. 848-852
DOI: 10.1126/science.1176113

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Abstract

Pulsars are born with subsecond spin periods and slow by electromagnetic braking for several tens of millions of years, when detectable radiation ceases. A second life can occur for neutron stars in binary systems. They can acquire mass and angular momentum from their companions, to be spun up to millisecond periods and begin radiating again. We searched Fermi Large Area Telescope data for pulsations from all known millisecond pulsars (MSPs) outside of globular clusters, using rotation parameters from radio telescopes. Strong gamma-ray pulsations were detected for eight MSPs. The gamma-ray pulse profiles and spectral properties resemble those of young gamma-ray pulsars. The basic emission mechanism seems to be the same for MSPs and young pulsars, with the emission originating in regions far from the neutron star surface.

  • * National Research Council Research Associate.

  • Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Research Fellow, funded by a grant from the K. A. Wallenberg Foundation.

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