Unusual three-star system promises new test of gravity

Measurements of pulsar and white dwarfs could bolster or dethrone general relativity

TRIPLE THREAT  A pulsar (left) is orbited by two white dwarfs — one close in, one farther away — in this illustration of the system PSR J0337+1715. The curved blue lines show the pulsar’s magnetic field and the blue cones show the radiation the star sends into space. Astronomers measuring this radiation will try to test general relativity, the leading theory of gravity, to unprecedented precision.

Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI and NSF

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