Large scale pulsar surveys, new pulsar discoveries, and the observability of pulsar beams strongly bent by the Sag. A* black hole

Date

2013

Authors

Stovall, Kevin

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Abstract

Pulsars are useful tools for a large range of topics including but not limited to the detection of gravitational waves; tests of theories of gravity; population studies of pulsars, neutron stars, and binary systems; and analysis of Galactic structure. In the case of detections of gravitational waves, large numbers of extremely fast pulsars with periods of a few milliseconds distributed across a large number of angular separations are needed. In the case of population and Galactic structure studies, large numbers of pulsars distributed throughout the Galaxy are necessary. In order to find pulsars in the exotic systems useful for tests of theories of gravity, large number of pulsar discoveries are necessary in order to find these rare objects. As all of these efforts require the discovery of large numbers of pulsars, a significant effort has been made over the past few years, and will continue into the foreseeable future, to detect many more new radio pulsars through large scale pulsar surveys. The surveys related to this work include the Pulsar Arecibo L-Band Feed Array, the Green Bank 350MHz Drift Scan Survey, the Arecibo 327MHz Drift Scan Survey (AO327), and the Green Bank North Celestial Cap (GBNCC) survey. Data analysis from each of these surveys has resulted or will result in millions of pulsar candidates to be combed through, in some way, in order to find new radio pulsars. Here we discuss these surveys and the data analysis pipelines for two of them (AO327 and GBNCC). We also introduce a web based software system called ARCC Explorer, which enables researchers of varying levels, including high school and undergraduate students, to assist in the discovery process. In addition, we give discovery or timing solutions for 93 new pulsars directly discovered as a result of this work. One particularly interesting, but not yet detected, pulsar system is the pulsar-black hole system. Attempts have been made (and are still ongoing) to detect pulsars orbiting the black hole at the center of our Galaxy. We calculate the probability of detecting a beam from a pulsar which has passed through the moderate- to strong-field regime of the super massive black hole.

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Keywords

Neutron Stars, Pulsars, Surveys

Citation

Department

Physics and Astronomy