Surrounded by spiders! New black widows and redbacks in the Galactic field

Mallory S.E. Roberts

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Over the last few years, the number of known eclipsing radio millisecond pulsar systems in the Galactic field has dramatically increased, with many being associated with Fermi gamma-ray sources. All are in tight binaries (orbital period < 24 hr) with many being classical black widows which have very low mass companions (companion mass Mc ≠0.1 M ⊙) but some are redbacks with low mass (Mc ∼ 0.2-0.4 M ⊙) companions which are probably non-degenerate. These latter are systems where the mass transfer process may have only temporarily halted, and so are transitional systems between low mass X-ray binaries and ordinary binary millisecond pulsars. Here we review the new discoveries and their multi-wavelength properties, and briefly discuss models of shock emission, mass determinations, and evolutionary scenarios.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeutron Stars and Pulsars
Subtitle of host publicationChallenges and Opportunities after 80 years
EditorsJoeri Van Leeuwen
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Aug 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
ISSN (Print)1743-9213
ISSN (Electronic)1743-9221


  • X-rays: binaries
  • acceleration of particles
  • accretion
  • binaries: close
  • binaries: eclipsing
  • equation of state
  • gamma rays: observations
  • pulsars: general
  • pulsars: individual (PSR J2129-0429)
  • shock waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Space and Planetary Science


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