Fermi Detection of a Luminous γ-Ray Pulsar in a Globular Cluster

Science  25 Nov 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6059, pp. 1107-1110
DOI: 10.1126/science.1207141

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We report on the Fermi Large Area Telescope’s detection of γ-ray (>100 mega–electron volts) pulsations from pulsar J1823–3021A in the globular cluster NGC 6624 with high significance (∼7 σ). Its γ-ray luminosity, Lγ = (8.4 ± 1.6) × 1034 ergs per second, is the highest observed for any millisecond pulsar (MSP) to date, and it accounts for most of the cluster emission. The nondetection of the cluster in the off-pulse phase implies that it contains <32 γ-ray MSPs, not ∼100 as previously estimated. The γ-ray luminosity indicates that the unusually large rate of change of its period is caused by its intrinsic spin-down. This implies that J1823–3021A has the largest magnetic field and is the youngest MSP ever detected and that such anomalous objects might be forming at rates comparable to those of the more normal MSPs.

  • Resident at Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC 20375, USA.

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