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High-precision baseband timing of 15 millisecond pulsars

Citation

Hotan, AW and Bailes, M and Ord, SM, High-precision baseband timing of 15 millisecond pulsars, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 369, (3) pp. 1502-1520. ISSN 0035-8711 (2006) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2006.10394.x

Abstract

We describe extremely precise timing experiments performed on five solitary and 10 binary millisecond pulsars during the past 3 yr, with the Caltech Parkes Swinburne Recorder (CPSR2) coherent dedispersion system at the Parkes 64-m radio telescope. 12 of our sources have rms timing residuals below 1.5 μs and four are below 200 ns. The quality of our data allows us to measure eight parallaxes and nine proper motions, from which we conclude that models of galactic electron density still have limited predictive power for individual objects. We derive a mean transverse velocity of 87+31-14 km s-1 for these pulsars, in good agreement with previous authors. We demonstrate that unless multifrequency observations are made, typical variations in dispersion measure (DM) could introduce an additional drift in arrival times of ∼1 μs per year at 20-cm wavelengths. Our high timing precision means that Shapiro delay can be used to constrain the inclination angles and component masses of all but two of the selected binary systems. The signature of annual orbital parallax is detected in the timing of PSR J0437-4715 and PSR J1713+0747, providing additional geometric constraints. The timing of PSR J1909-3744 is used to demonstrate that the DE405 ephemeris is a better model of the Solar system than the earlier DE200. In addition, we show that pulsar astrometric parameters measured using DE200 and DE405 often differ significantly. In order to use pulsars to search for a cosmological gravitational wave background, it is desirable to time them against each other to eliminate Earth-based time standards. We demonstrate that PSR J1909-3744 can be used as a reference against which we obtain a very small rms residual of 133 ns for PSR J1713+0747. Although the gain of the Parkes antenna is small compared to other telescopes involved in precision timing, we obtain some of the lowest rms residuals ever measured, highlighting the importance of good instrumentation such as CPSR2 and good analysis software. © 2006 RAS.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Physical Sciences
Research Group:Astronomical and Space Sciences
Research Field:Galactic Astronomy
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences
Author:Hotan, AW (Dr Aidan Hotan)
ID Code:45111
Year Published:2006
Web of Science® Times Cited:61
Deposited By:Physics
Deposited On:2007-07-03
Last Modified:2007-07-03
Downloads:0

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