Date of Award

11-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Physics

Abstract

Pulsars are neutron stars that spin rapidly, are highly magnetized, and they emit beams of electromagnetic radiation like a lighthouse out in space. These beams of radiation are only observed when the beams face towards Earth and can be measured by a radio telescope. Pulsar studies have an abundance of scientific implementations in solid state physics, general relativity, galactic astronomy, astronomy, planetary physics and have even opened windows in cosmology. This thesis reports the results of a study of pulsar (PSR) J0453+1559, a new binary pulsar discovered in the Arecibo All-Sky 327 MegaHertz Drift Pulsar Survey. The recorded observations of the times of arrivals of the pulses of the pulsar in the system, J0453+1559, span a period of about 320 days, which allowed precise measurement of its spin period (45.7 ms) and its derivative (1.85 ± 0.13 × 10−19 ss−1). From these measurements we derived the characteristic age of the system as ∼ 3.9 × 106 years and having a magnetic field of ∼ 2.9 × 109 G. These measurements point out that this pulsar was mildly recycled by gradual accumulation of matter from the companion star. The cyclic dance of this system has an eccentric (e = 0.11) 4.07-day orbit. This eccentricity enables a highly significant quantification of the rate of advance of periastron as ω˙ = 0.0379 ± 0.0005◦yr−1, which entails the total mass of the system as M = 2.73 ± 0.006 M. We also discovered the Shapiro delay, which allows an approximation of the individual masses being mp = 1.54 ± 0.006 M and mc = 1.19 ± 0.011 M,appropriately. These masses, along with the orbital eccentricity, propose that PSR J0453+1559 is a double neutron star system with a mass asymmetry. The anticipated coalescence time due to the outflow of gravitational waves is ∼1.4 x 1012, approximately 100 times greater than the age of the Universe. This is the 10th recognized double neutron star system in the known Universe, and below is its story.

Granting Institution

University of Texas Brownsville

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