Spin tilts in the double pulsar reveal supernova spin angular-momentum production

Will M. Farr*, Kyle Kremer, Maxim Lyutikov, Vassiliki Kalogera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


The system PSRJ0737-3039 is the only binary pulsar known to consist of two radio pulsars (PSRJ0737-3039 A and PSRJ0737-3039 B). This unique configuration allows measurements of spin orientation for both pulsars: pulsar A's spin is tilted from the orbital angular momentum by no more than 14deg at 95% confidence; pulsar B's by 130 1deg at 99.7% confidence. This spin-spin misalignment requires that the origin of most of B's present-day spin is connected to the supernova that formed pulsar B. Under the simplified assumption of a single, instantaneous kick during the supernova, the spin could be thought of as originating from the off-center nature of the kick, causing pulsar B to tumble to its misaligned state. With this assumption, and using current constraints on the kick magnitude, we find that pulsar B's instantaneous kick must have been displaced from the center of mass of the exploding star by at least 1km and probably 5-10km. Regardless of the details of the kick mechanism and the process that produced pulsar B's current spin, the measured spin-spin misalignment in the double pulsar system provides an empirical, direct constraint on the angular momentum production in this supernova. This constraint can be used to guide core-collapse simulations and the quest for understanding the spins and kicks of compact objects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number81
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011


  • pulsars: individual (J0737?3039)
  • supernovae: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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