Evidence for a Minimum Ellipticity in Millisecond Pulsars

Woan, G. and Pitkin, M. D. and Haskell, B. and Jones, D. I. and Lasky, P. D. (2018) Evidence for a Minimum Ellipticity in Millisecond Pulsars. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 863 (2). ISSN 2041-8205

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Neutron stars spin down over time due to a number of energy-loss processes. We provide tantalizing population-based evidence that millisecond pulsars (MSPs) have a minimum ellipticity of epsilon ≈ 10−9 around their spin axis and that, consequently, some spin down mostly through gravitational-wave emission. We discuss the implications of such a minimum ellipticity in terms of the internal magnetic field strengths and nuclear matter composition of neutron stars and show it would result in the Advanced LIGO and Virgo gravitational-wave detectors, or their upgrades, detecting gravitational waves from some known MSPs in the near future.

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Journal Article
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Astrophysical Journal Letters
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24 Jul 2019 15:55
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 07:46