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A Binary Pulsar Discovery by Volunteer Computing

Submitter: Joeri van Leeuwen and Jason Hessels
Description: As part of an international collaboration we have recently discovered the binary pulsar J1952+2630, using the distributed computing project Einstein@Home to reduce PALFA survey observations with the Arecibo telescope (Full paper: Knispel et al. 2011, arXiv:1102.5340).

The newly-found pulsar rotates every 21 milliseconds. It is orbited every 9.4 hours by a white dwarf companion about as massive as the Sun. The radius of this perfectly circular orbit is only 2.8 light-seconds, which is more than a 100 times closer than the Earth is to the Sun.

Einstein@Home is one of the many different volunteer-computing clients that run on the BOINC platform. The newest E@H clients can even make efficient use of volunteer GPUs for pulsar searching.

Figures: Left: The folded pulse profile of PSR J1952+2630 at 1.4GHz. Right Top: The measured spin period P as a function of the orbital phase. The curve is the expected model spin frequency and the horizontal red line is the average period. Right Bottom: The residuals between expected and measured spin frequency as a function of the orbital phase, for a circular orbit. No trends with orbit are left.
Copyright: JvL
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