Epoch J2000.0 Equinox J2000.0
|Right ascension||16h 23m 38s|
|Declination||−26° 31′ 53″|
|Apparent magnitude (V)||+24|
|Spectral type||Pulsar / DB|
|U−B color index||?|
|B−V color index||?|
|Radial velocity (Rv)||? km/s|
|Proper motion (μ)||RA: ? mas/yr
Dec.: ? mas/yr
|Parallax (π)||? ± ? mas|
|Absolute magnitude (MV)||?|
|Mass||1.35 / 0.34 M☉|
|Age||? / 1.3 × 1010 years|
PSR B1620-26 is a binary star system located at a distance of 3,800 parsecs (12,400 light-years) in the globular cluster of Messier 4 (M4, NGC 6121) in the constellation of Scorpius. The system is composed of a pulsar (PSR B1620-26 A) and a white dwarf (WD B1620-26 or PSR B1620-26 B). As of 2000, the system is also confirmed to have an extrasolar planet orbiting the two stars.
It is theorized that originally PSR B1620−26 A had another, lower mass white dwarf companion, which was ejected when the current PSR B1620−26 B interacted with the original binary system. At that time, PSR B1620−26 B was still a main sequence star, with its planet. Whereupon, the planet settled into orbit around both stars.
The triple system is just outside the core of the globular cluster. The age of the cluster has been estimated to be about 12.2 billion years. Hence this is the age estimate for the birth of the planet, and two stars.
There is a minor dispute about the proper nomenclature rules to use for this unusual star system. One side regards the A/B convention of naming binary stars as having priority, so that the pulsar is PSR B1620-26 A, the white dwarf companion is PSR B1620-26 B and the planet is PSR B1620-26 c. The other side considers PSR to only apply to stars which are pulsars, not their companions, so the white dwarf should be named using the WD convention, making the pulsar PSR B1620-26, the white dwarf "WD J1623-266", and the planet "PSR B1620-26 b." Early articles used the first convention, but star catalogs have been using the second. In practice, context makes it clear whether the pulsar, the white dwarf, the planet, or the system as a whole is being referred to.
WD B1620-26 is a white dwarf that orbits the pulsar. The white dwarf is sometimes referred to as PSR B1620-26 B, though some consider this notation confusing as it implies that it is a pulsar, when it is not.
PSR B1620−26 b was originally detected through the Doppler shifts its orbit induces on signals from the star it orbits (in this case, changes in the apparent pulsation period of the pulsar).
In the early 1990s, a group of astronomers led by Donald Backer, studying what they thought was a binary pulsar, determined that a third object was needed to explain the observed Doppler shifts. Within a few years, the gravitational effects of the planet on the orbit of the pulsar and white dwarf had been measured, giving an estimate of the mass of the third object that was too small for it to be a star. The conclusion that the third object was a planet was announced by Stephen Thorsett and his collaborators in 1993.
(in order from star)
|b||2.5 ± 1 MJ||23||~36,500||low||55°||—|
- Jean Schneider (2011). "Notes for star PSR B1620-26". Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- Z. Arzoumanian, K. Joshi, F. A. Rasio, S. E. Thorsett (1999). "Orbital Parameters of the PSR B1620-26 Triple System". Proceedings of the 160th colloquium of the International Astronomical Union 105: 525. arXiv:astro-ph/9605141. Bibcode:1996astro.ph..5141A.
- "Messier 4 (M4) globular cluster". European Southern Observatory. 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- Caputo, F.; Castellani, V.; Quarta, M. L. (February 1985). "Reddening, distance modulus and age of the globular cluster NGC 6121 (M4) from the properties of RR Lyrae variables". Astronomy and Astrophysics 143 (1): 8–12. Bibcode:1985A&A...143....8C.
- WD J1623-266 at SIMBAD
- Jean Schneider (2011). "Notes for Planet PSR B1620-2 b". Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
- SolStation: PSR B1620-26
- Extrasolar Visions: PSR B1620-26 A + PSR B1620-26 B
- SPACE: Oldest Known World Conjures Prospect of Ancient Life