I will discuss recent progress that has been made in the discovery and characterization of short-period, binary millisecond pulsar systems. In such systems, radio eclipses are often observed for part of the orbit and optical light curves are often highly modulated indicating irradiative heating of the companion. I will present observations and measurements of some of these systems indicating that they contain neutron stars with masses in excess of two solar masses. I will also discuss the implications of the existence of two subpopulations (so-called “black widow” and “red back” systems) and the recent results that show pulsars alternating between being accretion-powered and rotation-powered over the course of years. Finally, I will highlight some outstanding questions including whether there are evolutionary connections between these systems, low-mass x-ray binaries, and isolated millisecond pulsars.
Host: Lia Corrales, MKI Postdoc
Next up Ken Chen, UCSC, August 11 In Marlar or 34-304