A radio pulsar search of the γ-ray binaries LS i +61 303 and LS 5039

M. Virginia McSwain, Paul S. Ray, Scott M. Ransom, Mallory S.E. Roberts, Sean M. Dougherty, Guy G. Pooley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


LS I +61 303 and LS 5039 are exceptionally rare examples of high-mass X-ray binaries withMeV-TeV emission, making them two of only five known "γ-ray binaries." There has been disagreement within the literature over whether these systems are microquasars, with stellar winds accreting onto a compact object to produce high energy emission and relativistic jets, or whether their emission properties might be better explained by a relativistic pulsar wind colliding with the stellar wind. Here we present an attempt to detect radio pulsars in both systems with the Green Bank Telescope. The upper limits of flux density are between 4.1 and 14.5 μJy, and we discuss the null results of the search. Our spherically symmetric model of the wind of LS 5039 demonstrates that any pulsar emission will be strongly absorbed by the dense wind unless there is an evacuated region formed by a relativistic colliding wind shock. LS I +61 303 contains a rapidly rotating Be star whose wind is concentrated near the stellar equator. As long as the pulsar is not eclipsed by the circumstellar disk or viewed through the densest wind regions, detecting pulsed emission may be possible during part of the orbit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011


  • pulsars: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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