Lense-Thirring frame dragging induced by a fast-rotating white dwarf in a binary pulsar system

30 Jan 2020  ·  Krishnan V. Venkatraman, Bailes M., van Straten W., Wex N., Freire P. C. C., Keane E. F., Tauris T. M., Rosado P. A., Bhat N. D. R., Flynn C., Jameson A., Osłowski S. ·

Radio pulsars in short-period eccentric binary orbits can be used to study both gravitational dynamics and binary evolution. The binary system containing PSR J1141$-$6545 includes a massive white dwarf (WD) companion that formed before the gravitationally bound young radio pulsar... We observe a temporal evolution of the orbital inclination of this pulsar that we infer is caused by a combination of a Newtonian quadrupole moment and Lense-Thirring precession of the orbit resulting from rapid rotation of the WD. Lense-Thirring precession, an effect of relativistic frame-dragging, is a prediction of general relativity. This detection is consistent with the evolutionary scenario in which the WD accreted matter from the pulsar progenitor, spinning up the WD to a period $< 200$ seconds. read more

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High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena Solar and Stellar Astrophysics General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology