Mid- and Far-Infrared Infrared Space Observatory Limits on Dust Disks Around Millisecond Pulsars
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC REMOTE SENSING DIV
Pagination or Media Count:
We report 60 and 90 micron observations of seven millisecond pulsars with the Infrared Space Observatory. The pulsar PSR B125712 is orbited by three planets, and other millisecond pulsars may be orbited by dust disks that represent planets that failed to form or their residue. We do not detect any infrared emission from the seven pulsars in our sample, and typical upper limits are 100 mJy. Using a simple model, we constrain the typical dust disk mass to be on the order of less than 100 Mcross in circle, assuming that the heating of any putative dust disk would be coupled only weakly to the pulsars emission. If the planets around PSR B125712 are composed largely of metals, our limits are probably an order of magnitude above plausible values for the disk mass in metals. Future observations with the Spitzer Space Telescope should be capable of probing into the range of disk masses that could plausibly give rise to planets.