Vol 21, No 6

Revisiting pulsar velocities using Gaia Data Release 2

Meng Yang, Shi Dai, Di Li, Chao-Wei Tsai, Wei-Wei Zhu, Jie Zhang


Abstract Precise measurements of neutron star (NS) velocities provide critical clues in regard to the supernova physics and evolution of binary systems. Based on Gaia Data Release 2 (DR2), we selected a sample of 24 young (< 3 Myr) pulsars with precise parallax measurements and measured the velocity of their local standard of rest (LSR) and the velocity dispersion among their respective local stellar groups. The median velocity difference between thus calculated LSRs and the Galactic rotation model is ∼ 7.6 km s−1, small compared to the typical velocity dispersion of ∼ 27.5 km s−1. For pulsars off the Galactic plane, such differences grow significantly to as large as ∼ 40 km s−1. More importantly, the velocity dispersion of stars in the local group of low-velocity pulsars can be comparable to their transverse velocities, suggesting that the intrinsic velocities of NS progenitors should be taken into account when we consider their natal kicks and binary evolution. We also examined the double NS system J0737−3039A/B, and measured its transverse velocity to be \(26^{+18}_{−13}\) km s−1 assuming nearby Gaia sources are representative of their birth environment. This work demonstrated the feasibility and importance of using Gaia data to study the velocity of individual systems and velocity distribution of NSs.


Keywords (stars:) pulsars: general

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