The HTRU All-Sky Radio Pulsar Survey

Speaker: 
Cherry Ng (UBC)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2015-03-09 15:30 - 16:30
Location: 
Hennings 318

The extreme conditions found in and around pulsars make them fantastic natural laboratories, providing insights to a rich variety of aspects of fundamental physics and astronomy. To discover more pulsars we have begun the High Time Resolution Universe (HTRU) survey. The HTRU-South low-latitude survey employs the 64-m Parkes radio telescope in Australia and this project promises to provide the deepest large-scale search ever for the Galactic plane region. I will present an innovative segmented search technique which aims to increase our chances of discoveries of highly accelerated relativistic binary systems, including the potential pulsar-black-hole binaries. From the processing of 50% of the Galactic plane data I have already discovered 60 pulsars, of which four are in binaries. Comparing this newly-discovered pulsar population to that previously known, we suggest that our current pulsar detection yield is as expected from population synthesis.

The discovery of pulsars is just a first step and, in fact, the most interesting science can usually only be revealed when a follow-up timing campaign is carried out. In this talk I will also present my work on the timing of 16 fast-spinning millisecond pulsars (MSP) discovered by the HTRU. We discuss the unusual case of PSR J1801-3210, which shows no significant spin down after four years of timing data. In a broader comparison with the known MSP population, we suggest a correlation between higher mass functions and the presence of eclipses in `very low-mass binary pulsars'. We also suggest that the distribution of the total mass of binary systems is inversely-related to the Galactic height distribution.

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