The acceleration of pulsars—a new test

Abstract

IF pulsars are accelerated by the emission of asymmetric magnetic dipole1 or neutrino2 radiation, the spatial velocity acquired should lie along its axis of rotation. A simple test3 of such models is that the position angle on the sky of the proper motion ϕv and the polarization plane at the peak of the pulse profile ϕp should be either parallel or perpendicular. This hypothesis does not appear to be borne out by the available observations4. We have proposed5 a more direct 'scalar' test of the acceleration idea: the tangential velocity Vt of a pulsar (that is, the projection of its actual spatial velocity) should be proportional to the sine of the angle ζ between the line of sight and the rotation axis.

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