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Journal Article

Gamma-ray Timing of Redback PSR J2339-0533: Hints for Gravitational Quadrupole Moment Changes


Pletsch,  Holger
Pulsar Observation and Data Analysis, AEI-Hannover, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Pletsch, H., & Clark, C. J. (2015). Gamma-ray Timing of Redback PSR J2339-0533: Hints for Gravitational Quadrupole Moment Changes. The Astrophysical Journal, 807(1): 18. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/807/1/18.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0026-CCE9-4
We present the results of precision gamma-ray timing measurements of the
binary millisecond pulsar PSR J2339$-$0533, an irradiating system of "redback"
type, using data from the Fermi Large Area Telescope. We describe an optimized
analysis method to determine a long-term phase-coherent timing solution
spanning more than six years, including a measured eccentricity of the binary
orbit and constraints on the proper motion of the system. A major result of
this timing analysis is the discovery of an extreme variation of the nominal
4.6-hour orbital period $P_{\rm orb}$ over time, showing alternating epochs of
decrease and increase. We inferred a cyclic modulation of $P_{\rm orb}$ with an
approximate cycle duration of 4.2 years and a modulation amplitude of $\Delta
P_{\rm orb}/ P_{\rm orb} = 2.3 \times 10^{-7}$. Considering different possible
physical causes, the observed orbital-period modulation most likely results
from a variable gravitational quadrupole moment of the companion star due to
cyclic magnetic activity in its convective zone.