Dynamics of fast spinning neutron stars around a black hole

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Mullard Space Science Laboratory


Strongly bound gravitational systems often show interesting dynamical phenomena. Spinning finite-size objects in gravity would not follow geodesics in a space-time manifold. A fast spinning neutron stars or a neutron-star binary system orbiting around a black hole would exhibit complex spin and orbital behaviours due to various relativistic coupling. This project investigates two special classes of such systems: (1) a fast spinning NS orbiting around a BH, and (2) a double neutron-star system orbiting around a BH (which is a hierarchical 3-body system). In (1) spin-curvature coupling leads to non-planar NS orbits, in addition to de-Sitter and Lense-Thirring precessions of the neutron star's spin. In (2) orbit-orbit coupling induces gravito-magnetism, which manifests in the complex orbital and spin motion of the double neutron-star system. Radio pulsar timing and gravitational wave observations will be able to study the dynamical properties of these systems. Black hole - neutron star systems are useful in the study of fundamental physics and in astrophysics. They can be used to map the space-time structure around black holes and to determine the masses and spins of the massive nuclear black holes in galaxies. This is a theoretical project. It involves phenomenological modelling, algebraic computation and numerical calculations.


10 25 50
publication icon
Kimpson T (2019) Pulsar timing in extreme mass ratio binaries: a general relativistic approach in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

publication icon
Kimpson T (2019) Spatial dispersion of light rays propagating through a plasma in Kerr space-time in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/N504488/1 30/09/2015 30/03/2021
1743233 Studentship ST/N504488/1 30/09/2016 30/03/2020 Tom Kimpson