Research ArticleASTRONOMY

Einstein@Home discovers a radio-quiet gamma-ray millisecond pulsar

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Science Advances  28 Feb 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 2, eaao7228
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aao7228

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Abstract

Millisecond pulsars (MSPs) are old neutron stars that spin hundreds of times per second and appear to pulsate as their emission beams cross our line of sight. To date, radio pulsations have been detected from all rotation-powered MSPs. In an attempt to discover radio-quiet gamma-ray MSPs, we used the aggregated power from the computers of tens of thousands of volunteers participating in the Einstein@Home distributed computing project to search for pulsations from unidentified gamma-ray sources in Fermi Large Area Telescope data. This survey discovered two isolated MSPs, one of which is the only known rotation-powered MSP to remain undetected in radio observations. These gamma-ray MSPs were discovered in completely blind searches without prior constraints from other observations, raising hopes for detecting MSPs from a predicted Galactic bulge population.

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