Relativistic spin precession in the double pulsar

Rene P. Breton, Victoria M. Kaspi, Michael Kramer, Maura A. McLaughlin, Maxim Lyutikov, Scott M. Ransom, Ingrid H. Stairs, Robert D. Ferdman, Fernando Camilo, Andrea Possenti

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145 Citations (Scopus)


The double pulsar PSR J0737–3039A/B consists of two neutron stars in a highly relativistic orbit that displays a roughly 30-second eclipse when pulsar A passes behind pulsar B. Describing this eclipse of pulsar A as due to absorption occurring in the magnetosphere of pulsar B, we successfully used a simple geometric model to characterize the observed changing eclipse morphology and to measure the relativistic precession of pulsar B's spin axis around the total orbital angular momentum. This provides a test of general relativity and alternative theories of gravity in the strong-field regime. Our measured relativistic spin precession rate of Embedded Image per year (68% confidence level) is consistent with that predicted by general relativity within an uncertainty of 13%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-107
Number of pages4
Issue number5885
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes

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