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  1. ABSTRACT The Fermi Large Area Telescope gamma-ray source 3FGL J2039.6–5618 contains a periodic optical and X-ray source that was predicted to be a ‘redback’ millisecond pulsar (MSP) binary system. However, the conclusive identification required the detection of pulsations from the putative MSP. To better constrain the orbital parameters for a directed search for gamma-ray pulsations, we obtained new optical light curves in 2017 and 2018, which revealed long-term variability from the companion star. The resulting orbital parameter constraints were used to perform a targeted gamma-ray pulsation search using the Einstein@Home-distributed volunteer computing system. This search discovered pulsations with a period of 2.65 ms, confirming the source as a binary MSP now known as PSR J2039–5617. Optical light-curve modelling is complicated, and likely biased, by asymmetric heating on the companion star and long-term variability, but we find an inclination i ≳ 60°, for a low pulsar mass between $1.1\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot } \lt M_{\rm psr} \lt $ 1.6 M⊙, and a companion mass of 0.15–$0.22\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$, confirming the redback classification. Timing the gamma-ray pulsations also revealed significant variability in the orbital period, which we find to be consistent with quadrupole moment variations in the companion star, suggestive of convective activity. We also find thatmore »the pulsed flux is modulated at the orbital period, potentially due to inverse Compton scattering between high-energy leptons in the pulsar wind and the companion star’s optical photon field.« less
  2. Abstract Isolated neutron stars that are asymmetric with respect to their spin axis are possible sources of detectable continuous gravitational waves. This paper presents a fully coherent search for such signals from eighteen pulsars in data from LIGO and Virgo’s third observing run (O3). For known pulsars, efficient and sensitive matched-filter searches can be carried out if one assumes the gravitational radiation is phase-locked to the electromagnetic emission. In the search presented here, we relax this assumption and allow both the frequency and the time derivative of the frequency of the gravitational waves to vary in a small range around those inferred from electromagnetic observations. We find no evidence for continuous gravitational waves, and set upper limits on the strain amplitude for each target. These limits are more constraining for seven of the targets than the spin-down limit defined by ascribing all rotational energy loss to gravitational radiation. In an additional search, we look in O3 data for long-duration (hours–months) transient gravitational waves in the aftermath of pulsar glitches for six targets with a total of nine glitches. We report two marginal outliers from this search, but find no clear evidence for such emission either. The resulting duration-dependent strain uppermore »limits do not surpass indirect energy constraints for any of these targets.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  3. Abstract We present a targeted search for continuous gravitational waves (GWs) from 236 pulsars using data from the third observing run of LIGO and Virgo (O3) combined with data from the second observing run (O2). Searches were for emission from the l = m = 2 mass quadrupole mode with a frequency at only twice the pulsar rotation frequency (single harmonic) and the l = 2, m = 1, 2 modes with a frequency of both once and twice the rotation frequency (dual harmonic). No evidence of GWs was found, so we present 95% credible upper limits on the strain amplitudes h 0 for the single-harmonic search along with limits on the pulsars’ mass quadrupole moments Q 22 and ellipticities ε . Of the pulsars studied, 23 have strain amplitudes that are lower than the limits calculated from their electromagnetically measured spin-down rates. These pulsars include the millisecond pulsars J0437−4715 and J0711−6830, which have spin-down ratios of 0.87 and 0.57, respectively. For nine pulsars, their spin-down limits have been surpassed for the first time. For the Crab and Vela pulsars, our limits are factors of ∼100 and ∼20 more constraining than their spin-down limits, respectively. For the dual-harmonic searches, newmore »limits are placed on the strain amplitudes C 21 and C 22 . For 23 pulsars, we also present limits on the emission amplitude assuming dipole radiation as predicted by Brans-Dicke theory.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 25, 2023