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Conference Paper

Observing Radio Pulsars in the Galactic Centre with the Square Kilometre Array


Casanellas,  Jordi
Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Eatough, R. P., Lazio, T. J. W., Casanellas, J., Chatterjee, S., Cordes, J. M., Demorest, P. B., et al. (2015). Observing Radio Pulsars in the Galactic Centre with the Square Kilometre Array. Proceedings of Science, AASKA14. Retrieved from http://arxiv.org/abs/1501.00281.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0024-C647-1
The discovery and timing of radio pulsars within the Galactic centre is a fundamental aspect of the SKA Science Case, responding to the topic of "Strong Field Tests of Gravity with Pulsars and Black Holes" (Kramer et al. 2004; Cordes et al. 2004). Pulsars have in many ways proven to be excellent tools for testing the General theory of Relativity and alternative gravity theories (see Wex (2014) for a recent review). Timing a pulsar in orbit around a companion, provides a unique way of probing the relativistic dynamics and spacetime of such a system. The strictest tests of gravity, in strong field conditions, are expected to come from a pulsar orbiting a black hole. In this sense, a pulsar in a close orbit ($P_{\rm orb}$ < 1 yr) around our nearest supermassive black hole candidate, Sagittarius A* - at a distance of ~8.3 kpc in the Galactic centre (Gillessen et al. 2009a) - would be the ideal tool. Given the size of the orbit and the relativistic effects associated with it, even a slowly spinning pulsar would allow the black hole spacetime to be explored in great detail (Liu et al. 2012). For example, measurement of the frame dragging caused by the rotation of the supermassive black hole, would allow a test of the "cosmic censorship conjecture." The "no-hair theorem" can be tested by measuring the quadrupole moment of the black hole. These are two of the prime examples for the fundamental studies of gravity one could do with a pulsar around Sagittarius A*. As will be shown here, SKA1-MID and ultimately the SKA will provide the opportunity to begin to find and time the pulsars in this extreme environment.