233.02 Testing General Relativity With a Millisecond Pulsar in a Triple System (Anne Archibald)

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Jan 10th at 2:10 PM until 2:20 PM




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Author(s): Anne Archibald2, Nina Gusinskaia2, Jason W. T. Hessels2, Duncan Lorimer4, Ryan Lynch1, Scott Ransom1, Ingrid Stairs3
Institution(s): 1. NRAO, 2. Universiteit van Amsterdam, 3. University of British Columbia, 4. West Virginia University
The millisecond pulsar PSR J0337+1715 is unique in that it is in a hierarchical triple system with two white dwarf companions. This system offers the possibility to test the universality of free fall: does gravitational binding energy fall the same way as (say) proton rest mass? An intensive precision timing campaign has provided the data set required to carry out this test. Observed arrival-time uncertainties suggest we should be able to provide a test two orders of magnitude more sensitive than the best current constraints, but this will only be possible if all systematics are under control. I will report on the status of this delicate test of a fundamental principle of physics.