PSR J1946+2052: A Pulsar-Neutron Star System in a 1.9 Hour Orbit

Dr. Kevin Stovall will present at the 12th Bonn Workshop on the Formation and Evolution of Neutron Stars on PSR J1946+2052

PALFA observations have resulted in the discovery of PSR J1946+2052, a 17-ms pulsar in a 1.88-hour, eccentric (e=0.06) orbit with a ~1.2 solar mass companion. We have used the Jansky Very Large Array to localize PSR J1946+2052 to a precision of 0.09 arcseconds using a new phase binning mode. The improved position enabled a measurement of the spin period derivative of the pulsar and therefore an inferred magnetic field strength at the pulsar surface indicating that this pulsar has been recycled. This and the orbital eccentricity lead to the conclusion that PSR J1946+2052 is in a double neutron star (DNS) system. Among all known radio pulsars in DNS systems, PSR J1946+2052 has the shortest orbital period and the shortest estimated merger timescale, 46 Myr; at that time it will display the largest spin effects on gravitational wave waveforms of any such system discovered to date. We have measured the advance of periastron passage for this system, which can be used to infer a total system mass of only 2.50 +/- 0.04 solar masses, so it is among the lowest mass DNS systems. This total mass measurement combined with the minimum companion mass constrains the pulsar mass to less than 1.3 solar masses