Binary pulsar PSR B1913+16
compiled by Wm. Robert Johnston
last updated 30 August 2004
The binary pulsar PSR B1913+16 (=J1915+1606) was discovered in the summer of 1974 by Russell A. Hulse (Univ. of Massachusetts/Amherst, later Princeton Univ.) and Joseph H. Taylor (Princeton Univ.). Also known as the Hulse-Taylor binary pulsar, it comprises two neutron stars closely orbiting their common center of mass. One of these neutron stars is detected as a pulsar.
The subsequent study of this binary has provided the strongest evidence to date for the existence of gravitational waves. General relativity predicts that such a system will radiate energy in the form of gravitational waves, causing the stars to slowly spiral towards each other. In 1982 Hulse and Taylor could report, after eight years of observation, that the system was losing energy and inspiralling at the rate predicted by Einstein's general relativity.
Data on the PSR B1913+16 system:
|Distance||21,000 light years|
|Mass of detected pulsar||1.441 MSun|
|Mass of companion||1.387 MSun|
|Rotational period of detected pulsar||59.02999792988 millisec|
|Diameter of each neutron star||20 km|
|Orbital period||7.751939106 hr|
|Semimajor axis||1,950,100 km|
|Periastron separation||746,600 km|
|Apastron separation||3,153,600 km|
|Orbital velocity of stars at periastron|
(relative to center of mass)
|Orbital velocity of stars at apastron|
(relative to center of mass)
|Rate of decrease of orbital period||0.0000765 sec per year|
|Rate of decrease of semimajor axis||3.5 meters per year|
|Calculated lifetime (to final inspiral)||300,000,000 years|
Here is a list of pulsars in binary systems.
Press release announcing awarding of 1993 Nobel prize in physics to Hulse and Taylor
Page on The binary pulsar PSR B1913+16 from Cornell University's ASTRO 201 course.
A little more technical: a list of abstracts from NASA's ADS regarding PSR B1913+16, including ArXiv preprints:
- Willems, B., Kalogera, V., & Henninger, M. 2004, ArXiv Astrophysics e-prints Pulsar Kicks and Spin Tilts in the Close Double Neutron Stars PSR J0737-3039, PSR B1534+12 and PSR B1913+16
- Esposito-Farese, Gilles 2004, ArXiv General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology e-prints Binary-pulsar tests of strong-field gravity and gravitational radiation damping
- Kazanas, Demosthenes & Teplitz, Vigdor L. 2004, Astrophysical Journal Competition Between Gravitational and Scalar Field Radiation
- Kazanas, Demosthenes & Teplitz, Vigdor 2003, ArXiv Astrophysics e-prints Competition Between Gravitational and Scalar Field Radiation
- Dewi, J. D. M. & Pols, O. R. 2003, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society The late stages of evolution of helium star-neutron star binaries and the formation of double neutron star systems
- Colpi, M. & Wasserman, I. 2003, Pulsars, AXPs and SGRs Observed with BeppoSAX and Other Observatories Spin-perpendicular kicks from evanescent binaries formed in the aftermath of rotational core-collapse and the nature of the observed bimodal distribution of pulsar peculiar velocities
- Dewi, J. D. M. & Pols, O. R. 2003, ArXiv Astrophysics e-prints The late stages of evolution of helium star-neutron star binaries and the formation of double neutron star systems
- Konacki, Maciej, Wolszczan, Alex, & Stairs, Ingrid H. 2003, Astrophysical Journal Geodetic Precession and Timing of the Relativistic Binary Pulsars PSR B1534+12 and PSR B1913+16
- Kramer, M., Löhmer, O., & Karastergiou, A. 2003, ASP Conf. Ser. 302: Radio Pulsars Geodetic Precession in PSR B1913+16
- Weisberg, J. M. & Taylor, J. H. 2003, ASP Conf. Ser. 302: Radio Pulsars The Relativistic Binary Pulsar B1913+16
- Dewi, Jasinta & Pols, Onno 2003, IAU Symposium The Formation of Double Neutron Star Systems
- Kaper, Lex 2003, IAU Symposium Gamma-ray bursts: the most powerful cosmic explosions
- Weisberg, Joel M. & Taylor, Joseph H. 2002, Astrophysical Journal General Relativistic Geodetic Spin Precession in Binary Pulsar B1913+16: Mapping the Emission Beam in Two Dimensions
- Kim, C., Kalogera, V., & Lorimer, D. R. 2002, Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society Statistical Analysis of The Galactic Coalescence Rate of Neutron Star Binary Systems
- Finn, Lee Samuel & Sutton, Patrick J. 2002, Physical Review D Bounding the mass of the graviton using binary pulsar observations
- Francischelli, G. J., Wijers, R. A. M. J., & Brown, G. E. 2002, Astrophysical Journal The Evolution of Relativistic Binary Progenitor Systems
- Kalogera, V., Narayan, R., Spergel, D. N., & Taylor, J. H. 2001, Astrophysical Journal The Coalescence Rate of Double Neutron Star Systems
- Will, Clifford 2001, Living Reviews in Relativity The Confrontation between General Relativity and Experiment
- Kramer, M., Wex, N., Kalogera, V., & et al. 2001, IAU Symposium Asymmetric supernova explosion investigated by geodetic precession
- Weisberg, J. M. & Taylor, J. H. 2000, Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society Relativistic Precession in Binary Pulsar B1913+16: Mapping the Beam in Two Dimensions
- Wex, N., Kalogera, V., & Kramer, M. 2000, Astrophysical Journal Constraints on Supernova Kicks from the Double Neutron Star System PSR B1913+16
- Weisberg, Joel M. & Taylor, Joseph H. 2000, ASP Conf. Ser. 202: IAU Colloq. 177: Pulsar Astronomy - 2000 and Beyond General Relativistic Precession of the Spin Axis of Binary Pulsar B1913+16: First Two Dimensional Maps of the Emission Beam
- Karastergiou, A., Kramer, M., Wex, N., & von Hoensbroech, A. 2000, ASP Conf. Ser. 202: IAU Colloq. 177: Pulsar Astronomy - 2000 and Beyond Geodetic Precession and the Binary Pulsar B1913+16
- Arzoumanian, Z., Cordes, J. M., & Wasserman, I. 1999, Astrophysical Journal Pulsar Spin Evolution, Kinematics, and the Birthrate of Neutron Star Binaries
- Kramer, Michael 1998, Astrophysical Journal Determination of the Geometry of the PSR B1913+16 System by Geodetic Precession
- Nice, D. J. 1998, Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society Pulsar Timing Measurements of Gravitational Waves
- Bethe, Hans A. & Brown, G. E. 1998, Astrophysical Journal Evolution of Binary Compact Objects That Merge
- Kopeikin, Sergei M. 1997, Physical Review D Binary pulsars as detectors of ultralow-frequency gravitational waves
- van den Heuvel, E. P. J. & Lorimer, D. R. 1996, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society On the galactic and cosmic merger rate of double neutron stars.
- Kopeikin, S. M. 1996, Astrophysical Journal Proper Motion of Binary Pulsars as a Source of Secular Variations of Orbital Parameters
- Lipunov, V. M. & Panchenko, I. E. 1996, Astronomy and Astrophysics Pulsars revived by gravitational waves.
- Mohanty, Subhendra & Panda, Prafulla Kumar 1996, Physical Review D Particle physics bounds from the Hulse-Taylor binary
- Curran, S. J. & Lorimer, D. R. 1995, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Pulsar Statistics - Part Three - Neutron Star Binaries
- Doroshenko, O. V. & Kopeikin, S. M. 1995, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Relativistic effect of gravitational deflection of light in binary pulsars
- Sivaram, C. 1995, Bulletin of the Astronomical Society of India The Hulse-Taylor binary pulsar PSR 1913+16.
- Fakir, Redouane 1994, Physical Review D Detectable time delays from gravity waves\?
- Camilo, F., Thorsett, S. E., & Kulkarni, S. R. 1994, Astrophysical Journal The magnetic fields, ages, and original spin periods of millisecond pulsars
- Sigurdsson, Steinn & Hernquist, Lars 1992, Astrophysical Journal A novel mechanism for creating double pulsars
- Damour, T. 1984, General Relativity and Gravitation Conference The motion of compact bodies and gravitational radiation
- Damour, T. 1983, Gravitational Radiation Gravitational radiation and the motion of compact bodies
- Caporali, A. 1979, Munich International Astronautical Federation Congress Relativistic celestial mechanics of extended bodies
- Kristian, J. & Westphal, J. A. 1978, Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society A Visible Candidate for the Hulse-Taylor Binary Pulsar
- Shao, C.-Y. & Liller, W. 1978, Astrophysical Journal Astrometry and photometry of stars in the vicinity of the Hulse-Taylor binary pulsar
- Hjellming, R. M. & Gibson, D. M. 1975, Astrophysical Journal An interferometric search for the Hulse-Taylor binary pulsar
- Esposito, L. W. & Harrison, E. R. 1975, Astrophysical Journal Properties of the Hulse-Taylor binary pulsar system
© 2001-2002, 2004 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 30 August 2004.
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