Long-term variability of a black widow’s eclipses – A decade of PSR J2051−0827

E. J. Polzin, R. P. Breton, B. W. Stappers, B. Bhattacharyya, G. H. Janssen, S. Osłowski, M. S.E. Roberts, C. Sobey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we report on ∼ 10 yr of observations of PSR J2051−0827, at radio frequencies in the range 110–4032 MHz. We investigate the eclipse phenomena of this black widow pulsar using model fits of increased dispersion and scattering of the pulsed radio emission as it traverses the eclipse medium. These model fits reveal variability in dispersion features on time-scales as short as the orbital period, and previously unknown trends on time-scales of months–years. No clear patterns are found between the low-frequency eclipse widths, orbital period variations, and trends in the intrabinary material density. Using polarization calibrated observations we present the first available limits on the strength of magnetic fields within the eclipse region of this system; the average line of sight field is constrained to be 10−4 G ≲ B|| ≲ 102 G, while for the case of a field directed near-perpendicular to the line of sight we find B ≲ 0.3 G. Depolarization of the linearly polarized pulses during the eclipse is detected and attributed to rapid rotation measure fluctuations of σRM ≳ 100 rad m−2 along, or across, the line of sights averaged over during a subintegration. The results are considered in the context of eclipse mechanisms, and we find scattering and/or cyclotron absorption provide the most promising explanation, while dispersion smearing is conclusively ruled out. Finally, we estimate the mass-loss rate from the companion to be M C ∼ 10−12 M yr−1 , suggesting that the companion will not be fully evaporated on any reasonable time-scale

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)889-908
Number of pages20
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Binaries: eclipsing
  • Plasmas
  • Pulsars: individual: PSR J2051-0827
  • Scattering
  • Stars: mass-loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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