• Volume 5, Issue 3

      September 1984,   pages  187-330

    • Millisecond pulsars

      D. C. Backer

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      In 1982 we discovered a pulsar with the phenomenal rotation rate of 642 Hz, 20 times faster than the spin rate of the Crab pulsar. The absence of supernova debris in the vicinity of the pulsar at any wavelength indicates an age of the neutron star greater than 105 yr. The miniscule spindown rate of 1.1 × 10-19 confirms the old age and indicates a surface magnetic field of 109 G. A second millisecond pulsar was discovered by Boriakoff, Buccheri & Fauci (1983) in a 120-day orbit. These fast pulsars may have been spun-up by mass transfer in a close binary evolutionary stage. Arrival-time observations of the 642-Hz pulsar display remarkably low residuals over the first 14 months. The stability implied by these observations, 3 × 10-14, suggests that millisecond pulsars will provide the most accurate basis for terrestrial dynamical time. If so, the pulsar data will lead to improvements in the planetary ephemeris and to new searches for light-year scale gravitational waves. Many new searches for fast pulsars are under way since previous sky surveys excluded pulsars with spins above 60 Hz.

    • Models for the formation of binary and millisecond radio pulsars

      Edward P. J. Van den Heuvel

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      The peculiar combination of a relatively short pulse period and a relatively weak surface dipole magnetic field strength of binary radio pulsars finds a consistent explanation in terms of (i) decay of the surface dipole component of neutron-star magnetic fields on a timescale of (2–5) × 106 yr, in combination with (ii) spin-up of the rotation of the neutron star during a subsequent mass-transfer phase.

      The four known binary radio pulsars appear to fall into two different categories. Two of them, PSR 0655 + 64 and PSR 1913 + 16, have short orbital periods (<25 h) and high mass functions, indicating companion masses 0.7M⊙ (∼1 (± 0.3) M⊙ and 1.4 M⊙, respectively). The other two, PSR 0820 + 02 and PSR 1953 + 29, have long orbital periods (117d), nearly circular orbits, and low, almost identical mass functions of about 3×10-3 M⊙, suggesting companion masses of about 0.3M⊙. It is pointed out that these two classes of systems are expected to be formed by the later evolution of binaries consisting of a neutron star and a normal companion star, in which the companion was (considerably) more massive than the neutron star, or less massive than the neutron star, respectively. In the first case the companion of the neutron star in the final system will be a massive white dwarf, in a circular orbit, or a neutron star in an eccentric orbit. In the second case the final companion to the neutron star will be a low-mass (∼ 0.3 M⊙) helium white dwarf in a wide and nearly circular orbit.

      In systems of the second type the neutron star was most probably formed by the accretion-induced collapse of a white dwarf. This explains in a natural way why PSR 1953 + 29 has a millisecond rotation period and PSR 0820 + 02 has not.

      Among the binary models proposed for the formation of the 1.5-millisecond pulsar, the only ones that appear to be viable are those in which the companion disappeared by coalescence with the neutron star. In such models the companion may have been a red dwarf of mass 0.03M⊙, a neutron star, or a massive (>0.7M⊙) white dwarf. Only in the last-mentioned case is a position of the pulsar close to the galactic plane a natural consequence. In the first-mentioned case the progenitor system most probably was a cataclysmic-variable binary in which the white dwarf collapsed by accretion.

    • Gravitational lensing by stars in a galaxy halo: Theory of combined weak and strong scattering

      Rajaram Nityananda J. P. Ostriker

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      The theory of gravitational lensing of background quasars by stars in the halo of a galaxy is considered. In the limiting case of small ‘optical depth’, only one star is close enough to the beam to cause strong scattering, and the effect of all the other stars is treated as a perturbation with both systematic and random components. The perturbation coming from weak scattering can increase the number of images and the amplification in those cases where the amplification is already high; such events are preferentially selected in flux limited observations. The theory is applicable to the apparent association of background quasars with foreground galaxies. A comparison with earlier work on the same problem is given. The relevance of these results to gravitational lensing by galaxies as perturbed by random inhomogeneities surrounding the ray path is also briefly discussed.

    • Searches for proton decay and superheavy Magnetic Monopoles

      B. V. Sreekantan

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      In conclusion, as of 1984 January, it may be stated that the existence of super-heavy monopoles and the phenomenon of nucleon decay, both of which are extremely important from the point of view of grand unification theories, are still very open questions. While there has been just one magnetic monopole candidate so far, there have been several as far as nucleon decay is concerned. The first candidates for nucleon decay came from the fine-grain calorimeters of KGF, and NUSEX; recently there have been candidates from the water Cerenkov experiments as well. The experimental situation regarding the other important phenomena of relevance to grand unification which we have not discussed in this article — like the finite mass of neutrinos, neutrino oscillations, and neutron oscillations — continues to be indefinite though many dedicated experiments are in progress.

      With the continued operation of the nucleon decay experiments already collecting data and the commissioning of the new generation of experiments over the next few years, the stage is set for a resolution of this problem in a time scale of 5–10 years. The present indication that the dominant decay mode for the proton (even if it decays) is notp → e+π0 and that the lower limit to the lifetime of the nucleon is 1031 yr, does not favour the simple SU(5) type models.

      The remarkable discoveries of W± and Z0 with mass values exactly as predicted, have given a boost to the unification based on the gauge theoretical approaches. Whether grand unification can be extended to super-unification, experiment alone can tell. This will be the challenge for the remaining years of this century.

    • A source for the Reissner-Nordstrøm metric

      Ramesh Tikekar

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      An exact solution of the coupled Einstein-Maxwell equations representing the gravitational field in the interior of a sphere of charged incoherent matter in equilibrium is obtained which is a charged analogue of the static perfect fluid sphere solution with spheroidal 3-space obtained by Vaidya & Tikekar.

    • Astrophysical boosters

      W. Kundt

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      Constraints are derived on the acceleration of charges in shocks to highly relativistic energies. When applied to the extended extragalactic radio sources and to the cosmic rays, they cast doubt on the mechanism of ‘in-situ acceleration’, both for energy, entropy and statistical mechanics reasons.

    • Stability of a finite disc under the influence of a spherical halo

      Ashok Ambastha

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      We have studied the stability of finite gaseous discs, against large-scale perturbations, under the influence of spherical, massive haloes. A surface-density distribution consistent with the observed spiral-tracer profiles in disc galaxies is considered for the disc. We find that growing eigenmodes with both ‘trailing’ and ‘leading’ spirals exist in ‘cold’ discs for a wide range of values of the halo mass and its radius. The amplification rates of the unstable modes reduce as the ratio of the mass of the halo to the mass of the disc is increased. A uniform halo is not very effective towards stabilizing the disc against these modes. The results from the present study are consideredvis-a-vis previous studies on the global modes of self-gravitating discs.

    • Braking index diagnostics of pulsars. I. alignment, Counteralignment and slowing-down noise

      Pranab Ghosh

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      We show that the strong correlation observed between the braking indices (n) and the slowing-down ages (Τ) of pulsars is inconsistent with counteralignment between their rotation and magnetic axes, but that the data on pulsars with positive braking indices is consistent with alignment. Alternatively, slowing-down noise can quantitatively account for the data on all pulsars except the Crab and the Vela, and so for the apparent|n| ∼ Τ2 correlation observed for the older pulsars.

    • Cosmological solution with an energy flux

      Bijan Modak

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      The paper presents some spherically symmetric cosmological Solutions in which the velocity field is shear-free but there is a flux of energy. The solutions are believed to be new and the previous known solutions of this class due to Bergmann and Maiti may be obtained as special cases of our metrics.

    • Eruptive prominences of 1980 april 27 observed during STIP interval — X

      Rajmal Jain A. Bhatnagar R. N. Shelke

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      Observations and analyses of two similar eruptive prominences on the north-east limb observed on 1980 April 27 at 0231 and 0517 UT, which are associated with the Boulder active region No. 2416 are presented. Both the eruptive prominences gave rise to white-light coronal transients as observed by C/P experiment of High Altitude Observatory on the Solar Maximum Mission. Type II and moving type IV radio bursts are reported in association with the first Hα eruptive prominence at 0231 UT.

      Both the Hα eruptive prominences showed pulse activity with a quasi-periodicity of about 2–4 min. We estimate a magnetic field in the eruptive prominence of about 100 G and a build-up rate ∼ 1026 ergs-1. The high build-up rate indicates that the shearing of the photospheric magnetic field, which fed the energy into the filament, was rapid. It is proposed that fast-moving Hα features must have initiated the observed coronal transients. From Hα, type II and coronal-transient observations, we estimate a magnetic field of 2.8 G at 1.9R⊙ from the disc centre, which agrees well with the earlier results.

  • Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy | News

    • Continuous Article Publication

      Posted on January 27, 2016

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