• D. C. Backer

      Articles written in Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy

    • Millisecond pulsars

      D. C. Backer

      More Details Abstract Fulltext PDF

      In 1982 we discovered a pulsar with the phenomenal rotation rate of 642 Hz, 20 times faster than the spin rate of the Crab pulsar. The absence of supernova debris in the vicinity of the pulsar at any wavelength indicates an age of the neutron star greater than 105 yr. The miniscule spindown rate of 1.1 × 10-19 confirms the old age and indicates a surface magnetic field of 109 G. A second millisecond pulsar was discovered by Boriakoff, Buccheri & Fauci (1983) in a 120-day orbit. These fast pulsars may have been spun-up by mass transfer in a close binary evolutionary stage. Arrival-time observations of the 642-Hz pulsar display remarkably low residuals over the first 14 months. The stability implied by these observations, 3 × 10-14, suggests that millisecond pulsars will provide the most accurate basis for terrestrial dynamical time. If so, the pulsar data will lead to improvements in the planetary ephemeris and to new searches for light-year scale gravitational waves. Many new searches for fast pulsars are under way since previous sky surveys excluded pulsars with spins above 60 Hz.

    • Millisecond pulsar radiation properties

      D. C. Backer

      More Details Abstract Fulltext PDF

      Two investigations of millisecond pulsar radiation are discussed: average total intensity pulse morphology and individual pulse to pulse fluctuations. The average emission profiles of millisecond pulsars are compared with those of slower pulsars in the context of polar cap models. In general the full widths of pulsar emission regions continue to widen inversely with periodP as P-(0.30-0.5) as expected for dipole polar cap models. Many pulse components are very narrow. The period scaling of pulsar profiles -separations and widths -can tell us about the angular distribution of radiating currents. An investigation of individual pulses from two millisecond pulsars at 430 MHz shows erratic pulse to pulse variations similar to that seen in slow pulsars. PSR B1937+21 displays occasional strong pulses that are located in the trailing edge of the average profile with relative flux densities in the range of 100 to 400. These are similar to the giant pulses seen in the Crab pulsar.

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