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Lense-Thirring frame dragging induced by a fast-rotating white dwarf in a binary pulsar system

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  • V. Venkatraman Krishnan, Swinburne University of Technology, Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie
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  • M. Bailes, Swinburne University of Technology
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  • W. Van Straten, Auckland University of Technology
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  • N. Wex, Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie
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  • P. C.C. Freire, Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie
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  • E. F. Keane, Swinburne University of Technology, Jodrell Bank Observatory
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  • T. M. Tauris, Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie
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  • P. A. Rosado, Swinburne University of Technology, Holaluz-Clidom S.A.
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  • N. D.R. Bhat, Curtin University
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  • C. Flynn, Swinburne University of Technology
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  • A. Jameson, Swinburne University of Technology
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  • S. Osłowski, Swinburne University of Technology

Radio pulsars in short-period eccentric binary orbits can be used to study both gravitational dynamics and binary evolution. The binary system containing PSR J1141-6545 includes a massive white dwarf (WD) companion that formed before the gravitationally bound young radio pulsar. We observed a temporal evolution of the orbital inclination of this pulsar that we infer is caused by a combination of a Newtonian quadrupole moment and Lense-Thirring (LT) precession of the orbit resulting from rapid rotation of the WD. LT precession, an effect of relativistic frame dragging, is a prediction of general relativity. This detection is consistent with an evolutionary scenario in which the WD accreted matter from the pulsar progenitor, spinning up the WD to a period of <200 seconds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-580
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2020

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