Old pulsars in the low-density globular clusters M13 and M53

S. R. Kulkarni, S. B. Anderson, T. A. Prince, Alexander Wolszczan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

MILLISECOND pulsars are conventionally assumed to be spun up through the action of binary companions, although some subsequently lose their companions and appear as isolated pulsars. Such objects should therefore be more numerous in dense stellar systems. We report here the surprising discovery of two pulsars in low-density globular clusters: one is a single 10-ms pulsar (1639 + 36) in M13 (NGC6205), the other a 33-ms pulsar (1310 + 18) in a 256-day binary in M53 (NGC5025). Their ages, inferred from their luminosities and constraints on their period derivatives, seem to be ∼109 years, significantly greater than previously reported ages (≲108 years) of cluster pulsars1. The implied birth rate is inconsistent with the conventional two-body tidal capture model 2,3, suggesting that an alternative mechanism such as tidal capture between primordial binaries and a reservoir of (hundreds of) primordial neutron stars may dominate the production of tidal binaries in such clusters1,4. The period derivative of PSR1639 + 36 is surprisingly small, and may be corrupted by acceleration due to the mean gravitational potential of the cluster5.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-49
Number of pages3
JournalNature
Volume349
Issue number6304
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

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globular clusters
pulsars
Population III stars
stellar systems
gravitational fields
neutron stars
luminosity

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

Cite this

Kulkarni, S. R., Anderson, S. B., Prince, T. A., & Wolszczan, A. (1991). Old pulsars in the low-density globular clusters M13 and M53. Nature, 349(6304), 47-49. https://doi.org/10.1038/349047a0
Kulkarni, S. R. ; Anderson, S. B. ; Prince, T. A. ; Wolszczan, Alexander. / Old pulsars in the low-density globular clusters M13 and M53. In: Nature. 1991 ; Vol. 349, No. 6304. pp. 47-49.
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Kulkarni, SR, Anderson, SB, Prince, TA & Wolszczan, A 1991, 'Old pulsars in the low-density globular clusters M13 and M53', Nature, vol. 349, no. 6304, pp. 47-49. https://doi.org/10.1038/349047a0

Old pulsars in the low-density globular clusters M13 and M53. / Kulkarni, S. R.; Anderson, S. B.; Prince, T. A.; Wolszczan, Alexander.

In: Nature, Vol. 349, No. 6304, 01.01.1991, p. 47-49.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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N2 - MILLISECOND pulsars are conventionally assumed to be spun up through the action of binary companions, although some subsequently lose their companions and appear as isolated pulsars. Such objects should therefore be more numerous in dense stellar systems. We report here the surprising discovery of two pulsars in low-density globular clusters: one is a single 10-ms pulsar (1639 + 36) in M13 (NGC6205), the other a 33-ms pulsar (1310 + 18) in a 256-day binary in M53 (NGC5025). Their ages, inferred from their luminosities and constraints on their period derivatives, seem to be ∼109 years, significantly greater than previously reported ages (≲108 years) of cluster pulsars1. The implied birth rate is inconsistent with the conventional two-body tidal capture model 2,3, suggesting that an alternative mechanism such as tidal capture between primordial binaries and a reservoir of (hundreds of) primordial neutron stars may dominate the production of tidal binaries in such clusters1,4. The period derivative of PSR1639 + 36 is surprisingly small, and may be corrupted by acceleration due to the mean gravitational potential of the cluster5.

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