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Identification of the Optical Counterpart of Fermi Black Widow Millisecond Pulsar PSR J1544+4937

Tang, Sumin and Kaplan, David L. and Phinney, E. Sterl and Prince, Thomas A. and Breton, Rene P. and Bellm, Eric and Bildsten, Lars and Cao, Yi and Kong, Albert K. H. and Perley, Daniel A. and Sesar, Branimir and Wolf, William M. and Yen, T.-C. (2014) Identification of the Optical Counterpart of Fermi Black Widow Millisecond Pulsar PSR J1544+4937. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 791 (1). Art. No. L5. ISSN 2041-8205.

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We report the optical identification of the companion to the Fermi black widow millisecond pulsar PSR J1544+4937. We find a highly variable source on Keck Low Resolution Imaging Spectrometer images at the nominal pulsar position, with 2 mag variations over orbital period in the B, g, R, and I bands. The nearly achromatic light curves are difficult to explain with a simply irradiated hemisphere model, and suggest that the optical emission is dominated by a nearly isothermal hot patch on the surface of the companion facing the pulsar. We roughly constrain the distance to PSR J1544+4937 to be between 2 and 5 kpc. A more reliable distance measurement is needed in order to constrain the composition of the companion.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Tang, Sumin0000-0002-6225-8918
Kaplan, David L.0000-0001-6295-2881
Prince, Thomas A.0000-0002-8850-3627
Bellm, Eric0000-0001-8018-5348
Cao, Yi0000-0002-8036-8491
Kong, Albert K. H.0000-0002-5105-344X
Perley, Daniel A.0000-0001-8472-1996
Sesar, Branimir0000-0002-0834-3978
Wolf, William M.0000-0002-6828-0630
Additional Information:© 2014 American Astronomical Society. Received 2014 June 1; accepted 2014 June 30; published 2014 July 23. We thank the referee for helpful comments. S.T. acknowledges support by the NASA grant NNX12AO76G. D.L.K. is supported by the National Science Foundation grant AST-1312822. L.B. and B.W. acknowledge support from the NSF grants PHY 11-25915 and AST 11-09174. A.K.H.K. and T.C.Y. are supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of China (Taiwan) through grants 100-2628-M-007-002-MY3, 100-2923-M-007-001-MY3, and 101-2119-M- 008-007-MY3. D.A.P. is supported by NASA through Hubble Fellowship grant HST-HF-51296.01-A. We are grateful to S. R. Kulkarni for his help on obtaining Keck data. The W. M. Keck Observatory is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and NASA; the Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. Facilities: Keck:I (LRIS), CFHT (MegaCam)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSFPHY 11-25915
NSFAST 11-09174
Ministry of Science and Technology (Taipei)100-2628-M-007-002-MY3
Ministry of Science and Technology (Taipei)100-2923-M-007-001-MY3
Ministry of Science and Technology (Taipei)101-2119-M- 008-007-MY3
NASA Hubble FellowshipHST-HF-51296.01-A
W. M. Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords: binaries: general; gamma rays: stars; pulsars: individual (PSR J1544+4937); white dwarfs
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141003-145052222
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Official Citation:Identification of the Optical Counterpart of Fermi Black Widow Millisecond Pulsar PSR J1544+4937. Sumin Tang et al. 2014 ApJ 791 L5
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:50189
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:06 Oct 2014 02:30
Last Modified:22 Nov 2019 18:19

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