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Title: MILLISECOND PULSAR SCINTILLATION STUDIES WITH LOFAR: INITIAL RESULTS

High-precision timing of millisecond pulsars (MSPs) over years to decades is a promising technique for direct detection of gravitational waves at nanohertz frequencies. Time-variable, multi-path scattering in the interstellar medium is a significant source of noise for this detector, particularly as timing precision approaches 10 ns or better for MSPs in the pulsar timing array. For many MSPs, the scattering delay above 1 GHz is at the limit of detectability; therefore, we study it at lower frequencies. Using the LOw-Frequency ARray (LOFAR) radio telescope, we have analyzed short (5-20 minutes) observations of 3 MSPs in order to estimate the scattering delay at 110-190 MHz, where the number of scintles is large and, hence, the statistical uncertainty in the scattering delay is small. We used cyclic spectroscopy, still relatively novel in radio astronomy, on baseband-sampled data to achieve unprecedented frequency resolution while retaining adequate pulse-phase resolution. We detected scintillation structure in the spectra of the MSPs PSR B1257+12, PSR J1810+1744, and PSR J2317+1439 with diffractive bandwidths of 6 ± 3, 2.0 ± 0.3, and ∼7 kHz, respectively, where the estimate for PSR J2317+1439 is reliable to about a factor of two. For the brightest of the three pulsars, PSR J1810+1744, we found that themore » diffractive bandwidth has a power-law behavior Δν{sub d}∝ν{sup α}, where ν is the observing frequency and α = 4.5 ± 0.5, consistent with a Kolmogorov inhomogeneity spectrum. We conclude that this technique holds promise for monitoring the scattering delay of MSPs with LOFAR and other high-sensitivity, low-frequency arrays like the low-frequency component of the Square Kilometre Array.« less
Authors:
; ; ;  [1]
  1. ASTRON, The Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, Postbus 2, 7990-AA Dwingeloo (Netherlands)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22365493
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 790; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ACCURACY; DETECTION; GHZ RANGE; GRAVITATIONAL WAVES; INTERSTELLAR SPACE; KHZ RANGE; MHZ RANGE; PULSARS; RADIO TELESCOPES; RADIOASTRONOMY; RESOLUTION