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Astron. Astrophys. 355, 236-244 (2000)

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Formation of the binary pulsars PSR B2303+46 and PSR J1141-6545

Young neutron stars with old white dwarf companions

T.M. Tauris 1 and T. Sennels 2

1 Center for High-Energy Astrophysics, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 Institute of Physics & Astronomy, Aarhus University, 8000 C, Aarhus, Denmark

Received 10 September 1999 / Accepted 21 December 1999


We have investigated the formation of the binary radio pulsars PSR B2303+46 and PSR J1141-6545 via Monte Carlo simulations of a large number of interacting stars in binary systems. PSR B2303+46 has recently been shown (van Kerkwijk & Kulkarni 1999) to be the first neutron star - white dwarf binary system observed, in which the neutron star was born after the formation of the white dwarf. We discuss the formation process for such a system and are able to put constraints on the parameters of the initial ZAMS binary.

We present statistical evidence in favor of a white dwarf companion to the binary pulsar PSR J1141-6545, just recently discovered in the Parkes Multibeam Survey. If this is confirmed by observations this system will be the second one known in which the neutron star was born after its white dwarf companion. We also predict a minimum space velocity of 150 km s-1 for PSR J1141-6545, and show it must have experienced an asymmetric SN in order to explain its low eccentricity.

Finally, we estimate the birthrate of these systems relative to other binary pulsar systems and present the expected distribution of their orbital periods, eccentricities and velocities.

Key words: stars: binaries: general – stars: evolution – stars: mass-loss – stars: neutron – stars: white dwarfs – methods: numerical

Send offprint requests to: tauris@astro.uva.nl

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: March 17, 2000