Nuclear Physics at Two Kiloparsecs with Millisecond Pulsars

Mar 25, 2014, 12:10 PM


Scott Ransom (National Radio Astronomy Observatory)


The central densities of neutron stars are the highest known in the Universe, so measurements probing the interiors of radio pulsars, or even just their masses and radii, can give us unique insights into the physics of matter at extreme densities. The discovery of several interesting new pulsars as well as improved instrumentation has finally allowed us to start measuring the masses of the rapidly spinning millisecond pulsars. High-precision radio timing measurements of relativistic parameters, like the Shapiro Delay, have yielded several neutron stars near 2 solar masses, while optical observations of some "black widow" radio pulsars have indicated potentially even more massive neutron stars. Such systems strongly constrain the equation of state of neutron star matter and a variety of other topics in physics/astrophysics. New radio telescopes like MeerKAT, FAST, and the SKA will provide many new pulsars and corresponding new mass measurements.

Primary author

Scott Ransom (National Radio Astronomy Observatory)

Presentation materials