The aid of optical studies in understanding millisecond pulsar binaries
Harding, Alice K.
MetadataShow full item record
A large number of new “black widow” and “redback” energetic millisecond pulsars with irradiated stellar companions have been discovered through radio and optical searches of unidentified Fermi sources. Synchrotron emission, from particles accelerated up to several TeV in the intrabinary shock, exhibits modulation at the binary orbital period. Our simulated double-peaked X-ray light curves modulated at the orbital period, produced by relativistic Doppler-boosting along the intrabinary shock, are found to qualitatively match those observed in many sources. In this model, redbacks and transitional pulsar systems where the double-peaked X-ray light curve is observed at inferior conjunction have intrinsically different shock geometry than other millisecond pulsar binaries where the light curve is centered at superior conjunction. We discuss, and advocate, how current and future optical observations may aid in constraining the emission geometry, intrabinary shock and the unknown physics of pulsar winds