Einstein@Home discovers first millisecond pulsar visible only in gamma rays

Einstein@Home has found two previously unknown rapidly rotating neutron stars in data from the Fermi gamma-ray space telescope. While all other such millisecond pulsars have also been observed with radio telescopes, one of the two discoveries is the first millisecond pulsar detectable solely through its pulsed gamma-ray emission. The findings raise hopes of detecting other new millisecond pulsars, e.g., from a predicted large population of such objects towards the center of our Galaxy.

Read more in this joint press release by the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hannover and the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn. The publication appeared in Science Advances.

We would like to express our gratitude to the tens of thousands of Einstein@Home volunteers who have donated their CPU time to the project. Without them the survey could not have been performed and these discoveries could not have been made. The two discoveries reported now and the volunteers whose computers made them are:

  • PSR J1035−6720: “WSyS”; Kurt Kovacs, of Seattle Washington, USA; and the ATLAS Cluster, AEI, Hannover, Germany.
  • PSR J1744−7619: Darrell Hoberer, of Gainesville, TX, USA; the ATLAS Cluster, AEI, Hannover, Germany; Igor Yakushin of Chicago, IL, USA and the LIGO Laboratory, USA; and Keith Pickstone of Oldham, UK.

Benjamin on behalf of the Einstein@Home team