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Title: Determining the rotation direction in pulsars

Abstract

Pulsars are rotating neutron stars emitting lighthouse-like beams. Owing to their unique properties, pulsars are a unique astrophysical tool to test general relativity, inform on matter in extreme conditions, and probe galactic magnetic fields. Understanding pulsar physics and emission mechanisms is critical to these applications. In this work we demonstrate that mechanical-optical rotation in the pulsar magnetosphere affects polarisation in a way which is indiscernible from Faraday rotation in the interstellar medium for typical GHz observations frequency, but which can be distinguished in the sub-GHz band. In addition to being essential to correct for possible systematic errors in interstellar magnetic field estimates, this result offers a unique means to determine the rotation direction of pulsars, providing additional constraints on magnetospheric physics. With the ongoing development of sub-GHz observation capabilities, our finding promises discoveries, such as the spatial distribution of pulsars rotation directions, which could exhibit potentially helpful, but presently invisible, correlations or features.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [3]; ORCiD logo [4]
  1. Université de Toulouse (France)
  2. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
  3. Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau (France)
  4. Princeton Univ., NJ (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
OSTI Identifier:
1544474
Report Number(s):
LLNL-JRNL-767690
Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723; 958213
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC52-07NA27344; NA0002948
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 10; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; 70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY

Citation Formats

Gueroult, Renaud, Shi, Yuan, Rax, Jean-Marcel, and Fisch, Nathaniel J. Determining the rotation direction in pulsars. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-11243-4.
Gueroult, Renaud, Shi, Yuan, Rax, Jean-Marcel, & Fisch, Nathaniel J. Determining the rotation direction in pulsars. United States. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-11243-4.
Gueroult, Renaud, Shi, Yuan, Rax, Jean-Marcel, and Fisch, Nathaniel J. Fri . "Determining the rotation direction in pulsars". United States. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-11243-4. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1544474.
@article{osti_1544474,
title = {Determining the rotation direction in pulsars},
author = {Gueroult, Renaud and Shi, Yuan and Rax, Jean-Marcel and Fisch, Nathaniel J.},
abstractNote = {Pulsars are rotating neutron stars emitting lighthouse-like beams. Owing to their unique properties, pulsars are a unique astrophysical tool to test general relativity, inform on matter in extreme conditions, and probe galactic magnetic fields. Understanding pulsar physics and emission mechanisms is critical to these applications. In this work we demonstrate that mechanical-optical rotation in the pulsar magnetosphere affects polarisation in a way which is indiscernible from Faraday rotation in the interstellar medium for typical GHz observations frequency, but which can be distinguished in the sub-GHz band. In addition to being essential to correct for possible systematic errors in interstellar magnetic field estimates, this result offers a unique means to determine the rotation direction of pulsars, providing additional constraints on magnetospheric physics. With the ongoing development of sub-GHz observation capabilities, our finding promises discoveries, such as the spatial distribution of pulsars rotation directions, which could exhibit potentially helpful, but presently invisible, correlations or features.},
doi = {10.1038/s41467-019-11243-4},
journal = {Nature Communications},
number = 1,
volume = 10,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {7}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Figures / Tables:

TABLE I TABLE I: Typical plasma parameters in the interstellar medium and in pulsars’ magnetosphere. Rotation measure RM are typically observed at ω ∼ 1 GHz. ωpe and ωce are the plasma and electron cyclotron frequency, respectively.

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    Figures/Tables have been extracted from DOE-funded journal article accepted manuscripts.