Radio Pulsar / White Dwarf

Minimum credit line: Image courtesy of NRAO/AUI and Joeri van Leeuwen (UBC), Bryan Jacoby (NRL), Rob Ferdman (UBC)(for details, see Image Use Policy).

About this Image

Radio pulsars and white dwarf stars are formed when stars cave in and die. Both pulsars and white dwarfs are extremely massive and compact: pulsars are 500.000 times heavier than the earth, but only 10 miles in diameter. That means a coffee mug filled with 'pulsar' weighs as much as the entire Mt. Everest! Their density and gravitational pull are gigantic, and stretches space and time in their vicinity. When you look at a radio pulsar passing behind a white dwarf, you can actually see its light slow down as it struggles past the white dwarf.

Investigator(s):  Joeri van Leeuwen (UBC), Bryan Jacoby (NRL), Rob Ferdman (UBC)

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Technical Data

    Telescope GBT 
    Type of Observation Continuum Observations 
    Band L 
    Wavelength 20 cm 
    Frequency 1.4 GHz 
    Center of Image RA: 18:02:5.00, Dec: -21:24:3.00 (J2000)  
    Field of View 0.0167 x 0.0167 degrees  
    Technical Caption Shapiro delay is prominent in this plot of time-of-arrival offsets versus orbital phase. Shown are the residuals for the best-fit model that incorporates all Newtonian and general-relativistic radio-pulsar and binary motion characteristics but with the Shapiro delay parameters removed. As the radio pulsar moves behind the white dwarf, pulses are delayed by up to 40 microseconds. PSR J1802-2124 has been timed over the last 2 years with GBT+GASP at L-band.  

  • Astronomical database entries for PSR J1802-2124
    • Query SIMBAD for more PSR J1802-2124 data


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