Spider Binary Pulsars and Extreme Physics

seminar default logo
Speaker :  
Dr. Rene Breton ( Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, UK)
Location :  
Online seminar
Date :  

Time : 

Abstract :

Since the discovery of neutron stars (NSs) as pulsating sources ∼50 years ago, pulsars have become the perfect laboratories to test the boundaries of theoretical physics, thanks to the extreme astrophysical environments they thrive in. Arguably the most useful of them are millisecond pulsars, extreme neutron stars that have been spun-up to millisecond spin periods by accreting matter from an orbiting companion star, as the measurement of their orbital dynamics allows us to investigate their evolution and test gravity theories. Among them are the “spiders”, a subclass of binary millisecond pulsars with low-mass semi-degenerate companions which are in the process of being ablated by the pulsar, leading to them being named after the deadly “black widows” and “redbacks”. In the last decade, the number of known spiders has grown by over an order of magnitude. They have since been linked to transitional millisecond pulsars which are believed to provide the missing link between binary pulsars and low-mass X-ray binaries. In this talk I will review some of the recent science developments enabled by this growing population, including the quest for measurement neutron star masses, finding the fastest spinning pulsars in our Galaxy and study the role of magnetic fields in accretion physics.