Millisecond pulsar

Millisecond Pulsar

Millisecond pulsar

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A millisecond pulsar (MSP) is a pulsar with a rotational period in the range of about 1-10 milliseconds. Millisecond pulsars have been detected in the radio, X-ray, and gamma ray portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The origin of millisecond pulsars is still unknown. The leading theory is that they begin life as longer period pulsars but are spun up or "recycled" through accretion. For this reason, millisecond pulsars are often called recycled pulsars.

Millisecond pulsars are thought to be related to low-mass X-ray binary systems. It is thought that the X-rays in these systems are emitted by the accretion disk of a neutron star produced by the outer layers of a companion star that has overflowed its Roche lobe. The transfer of angular momentum from this accretion event can theoretically increase the rotation rate of the pulsar to hundreds of times a second, as is observed in millisecond pulsars.

However, there has been recent evidence that the standard evolutionary model fails to explain the evolution of all millisecond pulsars, especially young millisecond pulsars with relatively high magnetic fields, e.g. PSR B1937+21. Kızıltan & Thorsett showed that different millisecond pulsars must form by at least two distinct processes.



Many millisecond pulsars are found in globular clusters. This is consistent with the spin-up theory of their formation, as the...
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