Binary Pulsars Don't Slow Down

It is extremely important to understand the concept specified in the title of this page, because within this concept lies the pathway to a new understanding of the universe.
The concept, as stated on the home page is that:
“Pulsars in binary systems do not slow down.”
On this site we will use the term “binary pulsar” to mean “a single neutron star pulsar in a binary system”. Being in a binary system, the pulsar, by definition, has a companion. In general, the companion can be any kind of star that appears on the H-R diagram, which basically contains all classifications of stars: young and old, big and small.

Note: In the single rare case where the companion is, in fact, another pulsar, we will refer to that system as a “Double Pulsar“.

As a quick review, the first pulsar that unequivocally showed that pulsars are neutron stars, was the Crab in 1968. The significance of the Crab pulsar is that it is right smack in the middle of a giant supernova remnant that was traced to the supernova explosion witnessed and recorded by Chinese astronomers in 1054 AD.
The next question that the astronomers of 1968 asked was:
“What was the origin of this neutron star pulsar that is rotating 30 times per second and having a velocity (proper motion) of hundreds of kilometers per second with respect to the supernova remnants at which it was originally in the center of?.

The answer came quickly from the 1968 astronomers, and the answer was and remains to this day that:
“The neutron star pulsar was created by an ‘implosion’ that corresponded to the original supernova ‘explosion’. i.e. the reactionary force to the outer explosion created so much pressure on the inner material of the exploding star that it compressed to the point where it gravitationally collapsed to a neutron star, where the electrons in the atoms were fused with the protons of their nucleus, rendering all this matter into one big ball of neutrons. Basically, a giant 10 km-diameter nucleus consisting only of neutrons and having a mass 1.4 times the mass of the Sun.”

In addition, when the neutron star was created it had a giant 10**12 Gauss magnetic field that was basically perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the neutron star. In addition, the neutron star with the perpendicularly to spin axis oriented magnetic field, obtained all the angular momentum for this rapid rotation rate from the collapse of the pre-rotating star.

Since that original discovery, all neutron star pulsars that have had their mass measured turn out to be remarkably consistent at a mass of 1.4 M-Sun. So, obviously stars like the Sun cannot produce neutron stars because a neutron star weighs 1.4 times that the Sun weighs. This means that the only progenitors of neutron stars according to this theory, which we will refer to as the “Neutron Star Creation Theory” or the “Neutron Star Collapse Theory” since both terms seem to apply equally well to describe the theory that was proposed and generally accepted in 1968 to explain the Crab Pulsar, have a mass more than 1.4 M-Sun.

The Crab Pulsar is NOT a binary pulsar. It is an isolated pulsar with no companion. However, according to NS-Capture theory, the Crab was originally most likely a super-giant star that had a neutron star companion that was increasing its spin rate to about 50 times per second at the time that the companion destabilized and the supernova explosion began. i.e. the pre-cursor was a binary pulsar and the result is the supernova remnants plus spinning down pulsar we see today.

Also, it is worth noting that isolated pulsars are radio pulsars, and the radiation they emit is in the radio wavelengths, which is the result of the poles of their magnetic field being perpendicular, or at least at a significant angle to the axis of the neutron star rotation. It is this property that makes the rotating neutron star a pulsar, as opposed to just a plain old neutron star, which is what pulsars become when they slow down to the point where we can’t observe them anymore.

Let us now assume that it is safe to say that according to the current theory, if we find a neutron star pulsar somewhere, that it must have been created by a supernova explosion rapidly rotating at about 100 times per second, similar to the Crab Pulsar.

Well, interestingly, it was not long after the Crab Pulsar was discovered, that the first binary pulsar was discovered in December 1971, in fact, by me, Rich Levinson! That discovery was that the X-Ray pulsar, Cen X-3, discovered in 1970 by the Uhuru satellite, which rotates once every 4.8 seconds in X-ray wavelengths is actually a binary pulsar. i.e. it has a companion. The companion has since turned out to be found to be an O-type Supergiant of about 16 M-Sun. i.e.  in early 1971, Cen X-3 was originally thought to be some sort of isolated pulsar, not the binary pulsar it proved to be in late 1971.

Another property of the Cen X-3 binary pulsar that I also discovered in late December 1971, conclusively, incorporating the Earth’s rotation etc. was that it is speeding up.

Similarly, I applied the same techniques to the X-Ray pulsar, Her X-1, and discovered that, it also is a binary pulsar, and it also is speeding up!

So, here (at American Science and Engineering in Cambridge, MA, next the Orson Welles Theatre on Mass Avenue, across the street from the popular bar, Jack’s, and about a 5 minute walk to Harvard Square), in the period of about 2 months we had discovered 2 binary x-ray pulsars which had relatively slow rotation rates compared to most of the radio pulsars, and they were both speeding up!

Since both pulsars were in close binary circular orbits with roughly 2-day orbital periods, of which 10-20% of the orbit was in total eclipse, it became obvious that the neutron star pulsars were orbiting right in the outer atmosphere of their companions!

The source of the x-rays was rapidly determined to be radiation emitted as the electrons and protons were gravitationally accelerated toward the surface of the neutron stars, while simultaneously being accelerated circularly around the magnetic field lines that are roughly parallel to the gravitational field lines near the magnetic poles. i.e. the charged particles spiral down toward the surface of the neutron star, they do not fall in a straight line. The process is called accretion, and there is a lot of research that has been done about accretion disks, etc. that provide the environment for the accelerating torque on the rotation rates of the pulsars.

So, now we have to ask:
“How did these pulsars come to exist with their slow but accelerating rotation rates in close binary systems powered by accretion of material from the atmospheres of their companions?”

Since we have only one known mechanism to create a neutron star, we have to use that mechanism to explain the presence of these slow accelerating pulsars in these close binary systems.

So, let’s apply the NS-Creation theory mechanism to the X-ray binaries:

  • Clearly we need to start with a binary system of 2 normal stars, and one of them explodes in a supernova to create a rapidly rotating pulsar that remains bound to its companion, despite the hundreds of km/sec “kick” it receives at creation.
  • Now we have a binary pulsar, where the pulsar is spinning roughly 100 times per second, and orbiting around its companion.
  • Now, in order to create an X-ray binary, we have to slow the 100 times per second pulsar down to once per 5 seconds, as in Cen X-3, plus we need to get it in a circular orbit right in the atmosphere of the companion.
    • Unfortunately, it is physically impossible for the rapidly rotating pulsar to slow down, since it is in an environment that speeds it up.
    • i.e. this is the fundamental self-contradiction of the NS-Creation theory.
    • Therefore we must reject the NS-Creation theory as the explanation of the slow rotating, but accelerating, pulsars in the X-ray binary systems.

If we must reject the NS-Creation theory, then the ONLY ALTERNATIVE is the NS-Capture theory.

Interestingly, the NS-Creation theory already uses the NS-Capture theory to explain all the pulsars in globular clusters, so the mechanics of the NS-Capture theory are well known.

The only thing left is to add up the numbers:

“How many neutron stars need to be floating around in the Milky Way Galaxy in order for enough of them to be captured by normal stars to explain the current population of pulsars?”

I worked this out roughly in a paper I wrote in 1993, published in the little known Meta-Research Bulletin, which I will post on this site in the near future.

In addition, we are now updating this calculation on an ongoing basis on this site.

The answer is roughly 5 trillion neutron stars. i.e. for every regular star in the Galaxy (of which there are about 200 billion) there must be 25 neutron stars to account for the current pulsar population.

Now we can see why it is so important that the binary pulsars do not slow down. i.e. the fact that a fast-spinning pulsar cannot slow down to become a slow spinning pulsar, such as those found in Cen X-3 and Her X-1, and that NS-Creation only predicts creation of fast spinning pulsars such as the Crab pulsar, means the NS-Creation cannot be used to explain the pulsars in Cen X-3 and Her X-1.