Science > Highlights > FY2014 > A Magnetized Pulsar near the Galactic Center

A Magnetized Pulsar near the Galactic Center

by Davis Murphy last modified Jun 23, 2015

The center of our Galaxy hosts a supermassive black hole, Sgr A*. Young, massive stars within 0.5 pc of Sgr A* are evidence of an episode of intense star formation near the black hole a few million years ago, which may have left behind a young neutron star traveling deep into Sgr A*’s gravitational potential. On 2013 April 25, a short X-ray burst was observed in the direction of the Galactic Center. Via observations with Chandra and Swiftsatellites, the associated magnetar was located and its spin period and derivative were refined. Quasi-simultaneous observations with the Parkes Radio Telescope and the GBT confirmed the existence of this pulsing magnetar at an angular distance of 2.4 ± 0.3 arcsec ≈ 0.07 - 2 pc from Sgr A* and determined a dispersion measure (DM) of 1750 pc cm-3, the highest ever observed for a radio pulsar. The magnetar is likely (~90% probability) in a bound orbit around the black hole.

Figure: Pulse profiles of the three radio observations where the magnetar was detected.

View Publication: A Strongly Magnetized Pulsar within the Grasp of the Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole, N. Rea (CSIC-IEEC), P. Espisito (INAF-IASF), J.A. Pons (d’Alacant), R. Turolla (d’Alacant, MSSL-UCL), D.F. Torres (CSIC-IEEC, ICREA), G.L. Israel (INAF-OAR), A. Possenti (INAF-OAC), M. Burgay (INAF-OAC), D. Viganò (d’Alacant), A. Papitto (CSIC-IEEC), R. Perna (JILA) et al., 2013 ApJL, 775, L34 (1 October 2013).

Added 17 Jan 2014

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