Pulsar Searching at the Galactic Center

Pulsars are compact stellar remnants with stable rotation rates, supranuclear densities, and extreme magnetic fields as well as temperatures. First discovered in 1969, over 2800 pulsars are known to date. However, barring the Galactic Center magnetar J1745—2900, no pulsar has been detected within a projected distance of 1 pc from the supermassive black hole at the Galactic Center.

The discovery and timing of a Galactic Center pulsar in a binary with a black hole (stellar mass or supermassive) companion would permit:

  1. Precise measurements of black hole mass and spin.
  2. Strong-field tests of gravity in the curved black hole spacetime.
  3. Accurate probes of the dense, turbulent central interstellar medium.

With the above goals in mind, we are collaborating with the Breakthrough Listen team, who are performing an extensive survey of the Galactic Center covering 0.7—93 GHz.

PSR J1745—2900
An artist's impression of the Galactic Center magnetar J1745—2900.

Stay tuned for updates!