A radio pulsar with an 8.5-second period that challenges emission models

Matthew D. T. Young, Richard N. Manchester, Simon Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Radio pulsars are rotating neutron stars that emit beams of radiowaves from regions above their magnetic poles. Popular theories of the emission mechanism require continuous electron-positron pair production, with the potential responsible for accelerating the particles being inversely related to the spin period. Pair production will stop when the potential drops below a threshold, so the models predict that radio emission will cease when the period exceeds a value that depends on the magnetic field strength and configuration. Here we show that the pulsar J2144-3933, previously thought to have a period of 2.84s, actually has a period of 8.51s, which is by far the longest of any known radio pulsar. Moreover, under the usual model assumptions, based on the neutron-star equations of state, this slowly rotating pulsar should not be emitting a radio beam. Therefore either the model assumptions are wrong, or current theories of radio emission must be revised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)848-849
Number of pages2
JournalNature
Volume400
Issue number6747
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1999

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