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The Astrophysical Journal


Using the 1.3 m and 2.4 m Telescopes of the MDM Observatory, we identified the close companions of two eclipsing millisecond radio pulsars that were discovered by the Green Bank Telescope in searches of Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope sources, and measured their light curves. PSR J1301+0833 is a black widow pulsar in a 6.5 hr orbit whose companion star is strongly heated on the side facing the pulsar. It varies from R = 21.8 to R > 24 around the orbit. PSR J1628–3205 is a "redback," a nearly Roche-lobe-filling system in a 5.0 hr orbit whose optical modulation in the range 19.0 < R < 19.4 is dominated by strong ellipsoidal variations, indicating a large orbital inclination angle. PSR J1628–3205 also shows evidence for a long-term variation of about 0.2 mag, and an asymmetric temperature distribution possibly due to either off-center heating by the pulsar wind, or large starspots. Modeling of its light curve restricts the inclination angle to i > 55°, the mass of the companion to 0.16 < Mc < 0.30 M , and the effective temperature to 3560 < T eff < 4670 K. As is the case for several redbacks, the companion of PSR J1628–3205 is less dense and hotter than a main-sequence star of the same mass.