Was Einstein Right? - The Double Pulsar

as a Unique Testbed for Strong-field Gravity

 

 

Michael Kramer

Jodrell Bank Observatory, University of Manchester

 

 

Ever since Einsteinís theory of general relativity (GR) was published, physicists have tried to put its revolutionary predictions to the test. While tests in the solar system can only probe the weak-field regime of relativistic gravity, we rely on the precision tests provided by radio pulsars to explore the strong-field limit. The most wonderful example for such a testbed is the unique Double Pulsar, discovered by our team last year. This system of two orbiting pulsars already provides us with the most stringent test of GR ever performed in the strong field. I will report on its discovery, present the most recent results and demonstrate how the double pulsar can also be used to study relativistic plasma physics under extreme conditions.