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  1. ABSTRACT

    PSR J1757−1854 is one of the most relativistic double neutron star binary systems known in our Galaxy, with an orbital period of $P_\text{b}=4.4\, \text{h}$ and an orbital eccentricity of e = 0.61. As such, it has promised to be an outstanding laboratory for conducting tests of relativistic gravity. We present the results of a 6-yr campaign with the 100-m Green Bank and 64-m Parkes radio telescopes, designed to capitalize on this potential. We identify secular changes in the profile morphology and polarization of PSR J1757−1854, confirming the presence of geodetic precession and allowing the constraint of viewing geometry solutions consistent with General Relativity. We also update PSR J1757−1854’s timing, including new constraints of the pulsar’s proper motion, post-Keplerian parameters, and component masses. We conclude that the radiative test of gravity provided by PSR J1757−1854 is fundamentally limited to a precision of 0.3 per cent due to the pulsar’s unknown distance. A search for pulsations from the companion neutron star is also described, with negative results. We provide an updated evaluation of the system’s evolutionary history, finding strong support for a large kick velocity of $w\ge 280\, \rm{km\,s}^{-1}$ following the second progenitor supernova. Finally, we reassess PSR J1757−1854’s potential to provide new relativistic tests of gravity. We conclude that a 3-σ constraint of the change in the projected semimajor axis ($\dot{x}$) associated with Lense–Thirring precession is expected no earlier than 2031. Meanwhile, we anticipate a 3-σ measurement of the relativistic orbital deformation parameter δθ as soon as 2026.

     
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  2. Abstract

    We consider the spectrum of eigenmodes in a stellar system dominated by gravitational forces in the limit of zero collisions. We show analytically and numerically using the Lenard–Bernstein collision operator that the Landau modes, which are not true eigenmodes in a strictly collisionless system (except for the Jeans unstable mode), become part of the true eigenmode spectrum in the limit of zero collisions. Under these conditions, the continuous spectrum of true eigenmodes in a collisionless system, also known as the Case–van Kampen modes, is eliminated. Furthermore, because the background distribution function in a weakly collisional system can exhibit significant deviations from a Maxwellian distribution function over long times, we show that the spectrum of Landau modes can change drastically even in the presence of slight deviations from a Maxwellian, primarily through the appearance of weakly damped modes that may be otherwise heavily damped for a Maxwellian distribution. Our results provide important insights for developing statistical theories to describe thermal fluctuations in a stellar system, which are currently a subject of great interest forN-body simulations as well as observations of gravitational systems.

     
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  3. We report on a comprehensive analysis of simultaneous X-ray polarimetric and spectral data of the bright atoll source GX 9+9 with the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) and NuSTAR . The source is significantly polarized in the 4–8 keV band, with a degree of 2.2%  ±  0.5% (uncertainty at the 68% confidence level). The NuSTAR broad-band spectrum clearly shows an iron line, and is well described by a model including thermal disc emission, a Comptonized component, and reflection. From a spectro-polarimetric fit, we obtain an upper limit to the polarization degree of the disc of 4% (at the 99% confidence level), while the contribution of Comptonized and reflected radiation cannot be conclusively separated. However, the polarization is consistent with resulting from a combination of Comptonization in a boundary or spreading layer, plus reflection off the disc, which significantly contributes in any realistic scenario. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 6, 2024
  5. ABSTRACT X Persei is a persistent low-luminosity X-ray pulsar of period of ≈ 835 s in a Be binary system. The field strength at the neutron star surface is not known precisely, but indirect signs indicate a magnetic field above 1013 G, which makes the object one of the most magnetized known X-ray pulsars. Here we present the results of observations X Persei performed with the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE). The X-ray polarization signal was found to be strongly dependent on the spin phase of the pulsar. The energy-averaged polarization degree in 3–8 keV band varied from several to ∼20 per cent over the pulse with a phase dependence resembling the pulse profile. The polarization angle shows significant variation and makes two complete revolutions during the pulse period, resulting in nearly nil pulse-phase averaged polarization. Applying the rotating vector model to the IXPE data we obtain the estimates for the rotation axis inclination and its position angle on the sky, as well as for the magnetic obliquity. The derived inclination is close to the orbital inclination, reported earlier for X Persei. The polarimetric data imply a large angle between the rotation and magnetic dipole axes, which is similar to the result reported recently for the X-ray pulsar GRO J1008−57. After eliminating the effect of polarization angle rotation over the pulsar phase using the best-fitting rotating vector model, the strong dependence of the polarization degree with energy was discovered, with its value increasing from 0 at ∼2 keV to 30per cent at 8 keV. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 12, 2024
  6. Abstract We report the discovery of seven new Galactic pulsars with the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment’s Fast Radio Burst (CHIME/FRB) backend. These sources were first identified via single pulses in CHIME/FRB, then followed up with CHIME/Pulsar. Four sources appear to be rotating radio transients, pulsar-like sources with occasional single-pulse emission with an underlying periodicity. Of those four sources, three have detected periods ranging from 220 ms to 2.726 s. Three sources have more persistent but still intermittent emission and are likely intermittent or nulling pulsars. We have determined phase-coherent timing solutions for the latter two. These seven sources are the first discovery of previously unknown Galactic sources with CHIME/FRB and highlight the potential of fast radio burst detection instruments to search for intermittent Galactic radio sources. 
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  7. ABSTRACT We present an X-ray spectropolarimetric analysis of the bright Seyfert galaxy NGC 4151. The source has been observed with the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) for 700 ks, complemented with simultaneous XMM–Newton (50 ks) and NuSTAR (100 ks) pointings. A polarization degree Π = 4.9 ± 1.1 per cent and angle Ψ = 86° ± 7° east of north (68 per cent confidence level) are measured in the 2–8 keV energy range. The spectropolarimetric analysis shows that the polarization could be entirely due to reflection. Given the low reflection flux in the IXPE band, this requires, however, a reflection with a very large (>38 per cent) polarization degree. Assuming more reasonable values, a polarization degree of the hot corona ranging from ∼4 to ∼8 per cent is found. The observed polarization degree excludes a ‘spherical’ lamppost geometry for the corona, suggesting instead a slab-like geometry, possibly a wedge, as determined via Monte Carlo simulations. This is further confirmed by the X-ray polarization angle, which coincides with the direction of the extended radio emission in this source, supposed to match the disc axis. NGC 4151 is the first active galactic nucleus with an X-ray polarization measure for the corona, illustrating the capabilities of X-ray polarimetry and IXPE in unveiling its geometry. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 8, 2024
  8. Abstract In this work, we present polarization profiles for 23 millisecond pulsars observed at 820 and 1500 MHz with the Green Bank Telescope as part of the NANOGrav pulsar timing array. We calibrate the data using Mueller matrix solutions calculated from observations of PSRs B1929+10 and J1022+1001. We discuss the polarization profiles, which can be used to constrain pulsar emission geometry, and present both the first published radio polarization profiles for nine pulsars and the discovery of very low-intensity average profile components (“microcomponents”) in four pulsars. We obtain the Faraday rotation measures for each pulsar and use them to calculate the Galactic magnetic field parallel to the line of sight for different lines of sight through the interstellar medium. We fit for linear and sinusoidal trends in time in the dispersion measure and Galactic magnetic field and detect magnetic field variations with a period of 1 yr in some pulsars, but overall find that the variations in these parameters are more consistent with a stochastic origin. 
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  9. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024