Scott Ransom (NRAO): Testing the Strong Equivalence Principle with the Pulsar Triple System

Seminar | July 9 | 3:10-4 p.m. | 501B Campbell Hall

 Scott Ransom, NRAO

 Radio Astronomy Lab

The millisecond pulsar J0337+1715, in a hierarchical triple system
with two white dwarfs, is an extraordinarily high-precision pulsar which has recently provided a unique new test of general relativity. Our relativistic timing model of the system, using brute-force three-body gravitational integrations, has provided high-precision orbits and masses of all three stars. The timing has also allowed us to look for deviations in the shapes of the orbits of the inner neutron star and white dwarf that would result from a violation of the Strong Equivalence Principle (SEP) -- a key aspect of general relativity, but of no other known workable theory of gravity. Our limits on a violation of the SEP are orders of magnitude more stringent than previous tests (despite still being limited by systematics), and given the neutron star at the center of the system, are true strong-field limits.